Home > 3. My Poetry & Translations, 555. The Golden Thread > The Messenger (Story 2, Origin Cycle)

The Messenger (Story 2, Origin Cycle)

File:Winslow Homer - Leaping Trout (1889).jpg


Waking people up, as we all know, can be difficult. Often what they need is not less, but more, sleep. Unfortunately, to some extent, writers are in the business of rousing people. So when we rush that cup of coffee to those of our audience who have pulled the comforter over their head, the morning joe had better hit the spot. 

And as regards the story that follows, the second installment in RT’s incomplete cycle of creation stories, the term “morning joe” is appropriate. Even more so than the opening story of the cycle, “The First Words,” “The Messenger” has been a labor of love. How to encapsulate fundamental truths in a way that carries authority and delivers its message quickly? The great problem of all short story writers, of course. But when the stage is cosmic, the stakes go up. So here is a cup of extra-strong morning brew:

2.  THE MESSENGER  (told by Min the Poet)


Shel floated on the waves; En breathed in, out, in, out.

“Open your eyes,” she whispered.

“What are you thinking about?” Shel asked.

“Language,” En said.  “Now that we have it, why don’t we make something?”

“Because we just did,” Shel said.

“What do you mean?”

“Wait and see.”

It didn’t take long.  Over the course of a day Shel’s body swelled until the next morning she gave birth without pain.  She took the child, a girl, and gave it to En to hold.

The couple cared for the child, creating whatever food she needed.  They called her Shelen.

Splashing woke En up.  Something was splashing water into the boat.  Now on the left side, now on the right side, En looked over once, twice, then saw a flashing silver tail beat the water. Then a fish stuck his head up out of the water and said:  “I am Utara, the messenger of the uncreated world.”

En was too shocked to speak for a moment; then he recovered and said, “How can you exist?  We didn’t make you!”

“That doesn’t matter,” replied Utara, “I’m here because your daughter won’t be happy.  She needs a world to play in and explore.  You’ve forgotten about making the world, and the world is getting impatient.”

“Of course you’re right,” said En, realizing that Shelen had driven his desire to make the world clear out of his mind.  Then he raised himself up and said with an expansive gesture:  “Earth, be!”  Immediately large continents and islands rose up from the ocean.  En and Utara went to the new land and continued creation….

Ice and rock and tree bark, moon rabbits and talking spiders and feathered serpents, people big and tiny, brown and black and green and white, all these things En and Utara made.  They lost count of all the things that had made, and yet they did not slow down or grow tired.  Everything was fine until, until

a tree got sick and died, the earth shook and a crack opened up in it and swallowed everything near it, people made weapons and killed each other.  En looked at Utara and said:  “Why is this happening?”

“There are more purposes in you than you know,” Utara said.  “We need Shel’s help to do it right.”

En agreed, and to stop more suffering he unmade all the things that he and Utara had made.  They were back at the boat, and only Shel was there.  She was crying uncontrollably.

“She’s gone!” Shel said, “Our daughter just disappeared.  What happened?”  When En told her what he and Utara had done, Shel was furious.  “You killed her!  You killed our daughter!  Get out, get out, I don’t want to see you ever again.”

En said that they could start over again and make a new daughter, that they could make the world better than they had done the first time, but all the time Shel flailed at him, beat him about the shoulder and then En lashed out and struck Shel on the mouth.

It was over.  What they said to each other no longer mattered.  Utara said, “You shall not see each other for long ages, and the worlds you make shall be caught up in bitterness and suffering.  And yet there is hope of healing your Estrangement, for the world desires Reconciliation.”

When these things had happened Shel rose up into the sky, and En continued on his way in the boat.  God was broken and the Divine Purpose forgotten.  In this way suffering came into the world.

Copyright  © The Rag Tree, 2013

RT’s Related Posts: 1) The First Words; 2) The Contest for Shel

Painting: Leaping Trout (1889); Winslow Homer. WikiCmns; Public Domain.


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  1. August 22, 2013 at 4:05 pm

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