Pay Attention! This is a True Story.

Long ago, before the earth began its rapid rotations, we had very long days, followed by very long nights. The days were so long that you could live your whole life without any darkness, but when night came, it seemed to have no end. Each passing moment the earth became darker and darker until it was impossible to tell when your eyes were opened or closed. This was when dreams came alive.

During one such long night, a community of people decided to see if they could do something about the darkness. They consulted the oldest woman in the village named “She Has Seen” who was so old, she remembered the day before the long night, and had seen the sun and colours of the world. But now she was nearing the end of her life. Everyone else was too young to have ever seen the day- they were born in the night and knew only a darkness that was getting even darker.

The strongest among the young night community was called “Paces Here and There”. He approached She Has Seen and asked, “Matriarch, this night grows darker and darker and does not seem to ever end. Is there anything we can do to bring the day closer?”

She Has Seen thought for a moment and then shook her head and said, “No. The night has it’s time, and the day will have it’s time. There is nothing we can do to interfere with this.”

Paces Here and There was not satisfied with this answer so he pressed further, “Is there anything we can do to lift the darkness a little?”

At this question, She Has Seen rubbed her chin, and then smiled. “Yes, there is something. First bring me a river stone.”

****

Paces Here and There sent his brother, “Crawls in Dirt”, to find a good stone. Because Crawls in Dirt was an excellent procurer of the earthy things, he quickly returned with a very round, very smooth river stone that fit in the palm of the old woman’s hand.

She Has Seen held the stone and began to sing a special song to it. There was young girl nearby named “Hears and Remembers”, who listened to the song as it was sung, and put it to memory so that she would not forget. It was a song of light, life, and hope.

It was no ordinary song. As She Has Seen sang, the stone began to glow. It’s light grew bigger and bigger until ten feet in every direction around her was illuminated. The people were astounded and happy. They were seeing colours in the light for the first time and became ecstatic. But the old lady stopped the celebration to deliver a warning,

“Beware of the folly of appearances. You would do well to cast the stone aside”.

Paces Here and There thanked the old lady and assured her they would care for the stone, and would not misuse the light in any way, so there would be no need to cast it away. The old woman frowned slightly, knowing what the future might hold, and soon after took her last breath.

****

It was a time of mixed feelings. The people mourned the loss of the old woman, but celebrated their new era of light within darkness. They began to parade the stone around, and eventually mounted it in a flowering area for the community to benefit from.

After some time, people from neighbouring communities heard about this single light and began to arrive to see the glowing stone. Paces Here and There became concerned that other people would want to steal the stone, or would trample their flowers in their quest to see the light, so he posted guards around the light, and demanded oaths of fealty or a toll for outsiders coming to see it.

Eventually they built a structure around the light and called it a Lighthouse. It was a beacon for their people that they were in charge of protecting.

Meanwhile, Hears and Remembers grew up into a young woman. She married a young man from a neighbouring community named “Dreams Big”. Now this young man, Dreams Big, would often talk about how he wished he knew the secret of the glowing stone because it would really help his people to have some light as well. Out of affection for him, Hears and Remembers went to the River, found a smooth stone, and sang the song exactly as she heard the old woman sing it before.

****

The stone began to glow, and she wrapped it in a cloth to hide the light, and returned to her home to show Dreams Big. When he saw the light he began to dance. He took the light to the village elders and they decided to mount the stone in an open valley for everyone to partake in.

Now, when other communities heard of the second light, they all decided they wanted a light for their own peoples and began to research the matter. Meanwhile, Paces Here and There was noticing less and less people visiting his village, and he became jealous of the second light.

“It must have been that girl, Hears and Remembers”, he said. “She is the only one who would have known the secret of the glowing stone. She is giving our secrets away, and we must put an end to this at once!”

Some time later, Paces Here and There organised a large gang of strong people, and marched to the community of Dreams Big to demand the stone be returned to them along with Hears and Remembers. The community, afraid of Paces Here and There, surrendered the stone at once, but Hears and Remembers was nowhere to be found.

****

Terrified of being punished, Hears and Remembers had run away with Dreams Big who helped smuggle her somewhere safe and hidden.

Although Paces Here and There had now acquired the second stone, which he had mounted in a second Lighthouse in his village, he still worried about Hears and Remembers. She had eluded him, and she still held a secret that he felt he must safeguard. Because of this fear, he sent word out to every community to find her, and bring her to him, and in exchange, they would benefit from an alliance with his village.

By this time, the village of Paces Here and There had grown rich from the revenues paid by seekers of the glowing stone. With their new wealth, they increased their guards and their strength, and became a formidable force, should anyone dare challenge them. An alliance with them was a good political move, so most communities became eager to find Hears and Remembers.

As a result, Hears and Remembers found it very difficult to hide in one place for long. Most communities wanted to either hand her over, or use her to create their own light. Even when she acted a disguise for herself, and Dreams Big pretended to be her brother, they were both constantly worried about being found out. Sooner or later, they always had to run away when anyone showed signs of suspicion.

Finally, there was nowhere left to hide but the darkness. No community would harbour them, so they went into a cave where Hears and Remembers began to cry. Dreams Big tried to console her but was unsuccessful. After a few hours Hears and Remembers wiped her tears and decided that she would not go out without a fight.

Dreams Big, we have nowhere to go.” She said. “We will either starve here in this cave, or I will be found out somehow. So, I want to go back to my birth place, to where Paces Here and There is guarding the stones. I will do what the old woman said and cast the stones away. Then there will be no more of this nonsense. The light is not in the stones, it is in the song of hope that the old woman sang. Paces Here and There does not know that song.”

Admittedly, Dreams Big was scared for her, but he did not object and decided to stand behind his determined partner.

****

Very quietly, they both crept into the village of Paces Here and There. Dreams Big decided to go into the Lighthouse holding the stone that Hears and Remembers had given to him, while Hears and Remembers went into the Lighthouse holding the stone the old woman had given to her community.

When Hears and Remembers reached the glowing stone, the guards spotted her and chased her to the top of the Lighthouse tower. At the same moment, Dreams Big found his stone, and was also chased to the top of his Lighthouse tower. From high places, they called out to each other, with spears bearing into them, and cast the stones high up into the sky with their last breaths.

The stone that Hears and Remembers threw became a bright shining moon, a beacon of hope on a dark night. The stone that Dreams Big threw, became the Morning Star, a reminder of their love and affection.

Together the lights shone for all to see and treasure, and no single person or community could possess or guard them alone anymore.

Night SKy