A Folktale from a fictional world
I often say I’m not a writer but choice. Writing is kind of annoying for me, being dyslexic and all, but I do have a fictional world I’m building. World building is pretty fun. Asking questions to yourself about your world is pretty important. What’s the weather like? What system of government does it have? Does it have magic? (Of course it has magic! I mean come on!) What’s the culture like? What kind of stories does it have? This last one lead me into writing a folk tale for a world that doesn’t exist. I always liked the the Just-So stories so I made my folk tale mimic it’s style. Here’s a little peek into the world in my head.
How the Siblings chose their shape.
In the time Before Remembering there were four siblings, beings of pure magic, The Four Siblings, Sister Earth, Brother Fire, Sister Water, and Brother Air. One day they gathered, sat and talked and decided they wanted to see all that Is. They wanted to go out and explore the world, but they couldn’t go as they are. Being pure magic the couldn’t just moving around. Not with Sister Earth shaking the land and Not with Brother Fire burning everything in his wake. Not with Water drowning drowning everything. And Not with Brother Air having to explain what happened, because if he happened to sigh there would be nothing left standing. They decided it would be best for all that Is if they picked a shape to wrap themselves up in. But which shape should they take. The Sibling, being clever, decided they would ask all the creatures that Are a question. They would all take the shape of the creature who gave the best answer.
First they went to the home of Man. But Man wasn’t there. None of the Siblings were surprised.
Man was always in places that he shouldn’t be, doing things that he shouldn’t be and asking questions that he shouldn’t be. Man wasn’t a bad creature, just curious, and curiosity got him in to loads of trouble. (But those are other stories.)
So, with Man nowhere to be found, the Siblings went to Falcon’s home. They found Falcom right where he should be, in his nest in a high tree.
“Falcon,” Sister Earth called in a rolling rocky voice, “We have a question for you.”
Falcon flew down out of his tree, for one didn’t often have important guests like The Siblings.
“Salutations,” Said Falcon (That’s a fancy way to say ‘Hi’), “I will gladly answer your question.”
“Which of us is most important?” Sister Earth asked. Falcon flexed his talons, and clicked his beak thoughtfully.
“Brother Air is most important.” Falcon said, “It is Air who carries me through the sky so that I can hunt and make my house in the treetops, so he is most important.”
“I like his answer.” Said Brother Air said in a voice that rustled the leaves of Falcon’s tree.
“Yes, I imagine so,” replied Sister Earth, “But I’m not sure it is best.”
Sister Water shook her head, “I’m not sure either.”
“We’ll have to ask the other to know for sure.” said Brother Fire, “Thank you Falcon. If you see Man, tell him to find us. We have gone to see Boar.”
“Of course.” said Falcon bowing his head respectfully.
With that the four Siblings went on their way.
After a while who should tramp under Falcon’s tree, coming from doing who-knows-what to go who-knows-where, but Man.
“Salutations, Man.” said Falcon
“Hello Falcon” said Man. “How is life in trees?”
“None of your business,” Said Falcon, but in good humor so as not to hurt Man’s feelings. Man had once tried climbed into Falcon’s tree to figure out just how life was, but he fell down and bruised his bottom.
“The Four were looking for you.”
“The Siblings?” Man asked surprised.
“The same. They said you are to find them. They have gone to see Boar.”
“Why?” asked Man.
“Go find them and see!” Falcon said.
“Right! Thank you Falcon.” Man said as her hurried off to Boar’s home.
The Siblings arrived at a field of tall grass where Boar made her home.
“Boar,” Sister Water called, “Come out. We have a question for you.”
Boar trundled out of the tall grass and sat primly down before the four siblings.
“Good day to you all.” Boar said politely, “Ask whatever you like.”
“Which of us is most important?” asked Sister Water
Boar snuffled considering things and then she said, “I believe Sister Earth is most important. Plants and trees grow in Earth, which provide food and protect us from the sun. Besides if not for Sister Earth where would we stand?”
Sister Earth rumbled approval and smiled “I think boar is very wise.”
“It is a good answer,” Said Sister Water, “But is it the best?”
“I don’t know.” Said Brother Fire
“We should keep going to make sure we get the best answer,” Brother Air said, “Thank you Boar. If you see Man would you tell him to find us? We’re going to see Otter.”
“It would be my pleasure,” Said Boar a with nod of her head.
The Siblings continued on their way.
A few moments later Man came bounding into the tall grass.
“Excuse me Boar.” Man said
“Hello Man,” Boar said with a snort.
“How are you piglets doing?” Man asked
“None of your business!” Boar squealed. Man once snuck into her den to answer that question for himself, and woken up all 6 of her babies, and she was still angry with him.
“The Siblings are looking for you,” Boar said sharply, “They have gone to see Otter. Good Day to you.” And Boar disappeared into the grass without another word.
“Um, Thank you Boar.” Man said, and made his way to Otter’s home.
The Siblings came to the river bank and found Otter splashing in puddles.
“Hello Water and Earth and Air and Fire.” Otter said brightly as he made a quick dive into the river and and then back up to the bank.
“Hello There, Otter” Brother Fire said “We have a quick question for you and then you can go back to playing.”
“Ask it! Ask it!” Otter said splashing about.
“Which of us is most important?”
“Oh Sister Water!” Otter said right away, “Without Sister Water you couldn’t have rivers or ponds or oceans or fish. And there would be nothing to swim in or drink. Definitely Sister Water!”
“That’s a fine answer,” Sister Water said with a bubbly chuckle,
Brother Fire made a face like you make when you taste something sour, “It’s an answer. I don’t know how fine though.”
Brother Air laughed, “He didn’t take long to answer. Did he?”
“Come Brothers and Sister,” Sister Earth said, “We have more answers to collect. Thank you Otter. If you see Man tell him to Find us at Crocodile’s home.”
“Will do!” Said the Otter and went back to playing at the riverside.
Just then Man came by.
“Man!” Otter said cheerily, “Care for another swim! You must remember to hold your breath the whole while, this time.” Man had tried to see what was on the bottom of Otter’s river, and discovered that you shouldn’t try to breath water.
“Some other time Otter.” Man said, “Have you seen the Siblings?”
“They were just here. Went to see Ol’ Croc.” Said Otter.
“I’ve almost caught up then. Thanks Otter!” And with that Man was off again chasing the Siblings.
The Siblings came to the swamp marsh where Crocodile lived. When they arrived they found him laying in the thick reeds enjoying the sun.
“Greetings Crocodile,” Brother Air, “We have a question for you.”
Crocodile yawned, showing all of his lovely teeth, “Greetings to you Siblings. I’ll be glad to answer.”
“Very Well, Croc, which of us is best?” Brother Air asked.
“Fire.” Crocodile said with his best lizards’ grin.
All four Siblings were surprised at his answer, they looked at each other then all stared at Crocodile.
“Not Water or Earth?” asked Brother Air,
“Fire.” Crocodile repeated.
“Why?” All four Siblings asked together.
“Because,” Crocodile began, “When Fire comes to the forest, all kinds of creatures come to my swamp and I get to try lots of new things to eat.”
Fire shook his head, sparks flying and sizzling in the mud. “Thank you, Crocodile, for your answer but even I’m not sure if I like your reason.”
Crocodile nodded, “I understand, but my answer is honest.” Crocodile gave them a smile.
Fire nodded, “Thanks. If you see Man tell him to come to Tigress’ den.”
“It would be my pleasure.” Crocodile said.
“Please don’t eat him.” Fire said.
“That will not be my pleasure, but I will not eat him.” Crocodile said with a chuckle.
And the Siblings continued on their way.
A few moments later, Man came along. By this time he was getting a little out of breath.
“Hi Crocodile,” Man puffed.
Crocodile smiled to him. “Hello Man, would you like to see how many teeth I have?” Crocodile said he wouldn’t eat Man, but he didn’t say he wouldn’t taste if he got a chance.
Man paused. That was an interesting question. How many teeth did Croc have, and what were they like?
“I would like to see, but not until after I talk to the Siblings. Have you seen them?”
“They have gone to see Tigress,” Crocodile said, only slightly disappointed.
“Thanks Crocodile.” Man said and followed after the siblings.
When the Siblings came to Tigress they found her in a clearing next to a small pond.
Tigress nodded as they came near, “Welcome Siblings.”
“Hello Tigress,” said Sister Earth, “We have come to ask you a question.”
“I’ll be glad to answer.” Tigress said her striped tail curling around her feet.
“Which of us is most important?” asked Sister Earth.
Tigress frowned and flicked her tail. “I’m Sorry,” She said after a while, “I don’t think I can answer.”
“You can’t?” asked Sister Water.
“Why Not?” asked Brother Air.
“Well you see,” Tigress began, “Sister Earth give me a place to live. Brother Air give me scent to track my prey. Sister Water cools me after me on hot days. And Brother Fire’s sun warms me on cold days.
I couldn’t possibly say one is more important. You are all needed.”
The Siblings all smiled. “Well Said Tigress.” Said Sister Earth, “I like her answer.”
“I do too.” Said Sister Water.
“Agreed.” Said Brother Fire.
“We’ve found our answer.” Said Brother Air.
Just then Man can jogging into Tigress’ clearing. “I’ve finally caught up to you.”
“Hello Man,” said Tigress warmly.
“There you are Man!” Said Sister Water, “Where were you?”
“I’m glad you found us,” said Brother Air, “but I think you are too late.”
“Yes,” said Sister Earth, “We were asking creatures which one of us is most important.”
“And Tigress gave us the best answer.” said Brother Fire.
“Oh” said Man, “I’m glad Tigress could answer your question, because I surely couldn’t.”
The Siblings looked at Tigress then, one another, and then they all turned to Man.
“Why?” Fire asked Man.
“Oh Because I need Sister Earth to stand and explore. Brother Air I need to breath. Sister Water gives me cool drink and Brother Fire lights my way. You are all needed.”
The Siblings looked at each other again and laughed. Tigress joined in, but Man just looked confused.
“That’s more or less what Tigress said.” Brother Fire explained
“Yes,” Sister Water agreed, “And we went to see you first.”
“You’re never where you should be!” Sister Earth chuckled.
“I’m sorry to be so troublesome,” Said Man
“It’s quite alright, “ said Brother Air, “If you were at home when we came, we may never have gotten to ask Tigress.”
“Oh.” said Man somewhat relieved, then he asked, “Why were you asking this question.”
“Because,” Sister Earth answered, “We wanted to explore all that Is, and we wanted to choose a shape in which to do it.”
“We decided to take the shape of the creature who gave us the best answer to our question.” Said Brother Fire.
“Ah!” said Man, “and so you have chosen, Tigress shape! She is very strong and capable and a powerful fighter. A very good choice.”
“Thank you Man,” said Tigress, “You would be a good choice as well. There is no greater explorer than you Man. And you can be clever at times.”
“Thank you Tigress.” Man said.
The Siblings all smiled as if they shared a joke.
“We did choose Tigress’s shape because of her answer,” Said Sister Water, “But yours Man is just as good.”
“And So,” Brother Air said, “We will take Man’s too.”
“Man the explorer and Tigress the fighter. A good combination.” Said Sister Earth.
“One shape to get us into trouble,” Brother Fire said merrily, “And one shape to get us out.”