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Fables, Myths and Folklore of Mirico

*The Cosmic Tortoise*


Somewhere in the distant past, in a time before Light, a great Tortoise swam in a vast dark space. Tortoise was so immense and so limitless that all the stars in all the skies of all the worlds now known could fit into just one of her toes, and all the suns that have ever shone in any sky could fit in another. But in the age of Tortoise, there were no suns, and there were no stars or skies, for they had not yet been born.
As Tortoise swam, her flippers lifted and lowered, carrying her slowly across the vast dark spaces. Here and there, as her quiet passage disturbed the great stillness, shimmering bands that were unlike the darkness appeared. As Tortoise exhaled, more and more of these shimmers danced in her breath, and the darkness around her was not so dark.

The first Light had been born.

As Tortoise swam on, some of the vast spaces were still filled with shadow, but here and there glistening fissures and whispering spans of brightness spread out around and above and below her. Light played against her surfaces and breadths and ridges, revealing her patient eyes, her broad head, and her strong shoulders. It spun along the scutes of her immense shell, and whirled around her great tail.

Of course, being only Tortoise, she could not see herself, but amongst the old shadows and new light, the distant shapes of Others began to appear. Some among them were swimming or burrowing, and others were walking, weaving, dancing or flying, moving in their own way, slowly crossing the vast dark places.

Tortoise continued to swim, inhaling shadow and light. And within her, other forms and worlds began to know their shape.

*Spider, Weaver of Worlds*

Spider lived in a vast shimmering space, when Time and Light were still very young. Spider was curious and nimble, and with his many legs he walked across unimaginable, mysterious places. Spider saw, in the the light and dark that danced about him, that there were other shapes, and other worlds - but among them, there were none quite like him, and there was no world quite like his. 

Spider looked inside himself, and saw that a beautiful spiral lived there. As Spider grew larger, the spiral also grew, but the spiral seemed to grow faster, until at last, the ever expanding shape of it barely fit in his body. “If it gets much bigger I will no longer be able to keep it inside me,” Spider thought. “Perhaps I should put it somewhere else,” he thought. “But where?”

Slowly he began to draw the spiral out of himself. It was made of light, and in it mysterious seeds shimmered. The spiral spread out, around and beneath him, growing wider and wider. 

Spider noticed that the spiral wouldn’t keep its shape very well, as it had no place upon which to attach itself. Reaching out his many legs to pin it down, he realized, “I need to attach the thread to something. But what?”
He went about here and there, and found breadths and ridges in the vast spaces. Testing them with two or three of his feet and a few of his hands, it seemed to him that these places did not move. So he fixed a corner of the spiral to one place, and then another, and then another. At last the spiral stayed put, and Spider walked further and further out into the vastness, letting the thread of light slowly spin its way out of him. 

Where the spiral had moved freely for a while, rather than growing outward in all directions, the spin of it had begun to grow up, and also to grow down. 
Eventually a great trunk made of spider’s threads of light had grown across and through the vastness. Spider climbed it, and the trunk began to spread beneath the weight of Spider’s many legs… Thus the trunk began to grow branches (the branches of the tree were born, found a place to live), and began to spread out in all directions into the darkness and light. Spider slept in the tree for a long time. Tortoise kept swimming, and the tree grew taller.

‘Though every tomorrow may not be mine,
I must think and act as if it is so.
For every Tomorrow echoes from

*The Tears of Bird*

Then there was Bird.

After spinning a while in the wombs of light where she had been born, Bird became curious to see how far her two bright wings could carry her. She was the first to leave the wombs of Tortoise, the first to explore the places where light and darkness were learning how to live together.
She could see how the body of Tortoise had stirred the vastness, and how Spider's web now stretched out in many directions. Bird saw shimmering expanses of mist, swirling, fertile places of dust and gas. As dark and light moved through one another, there were born colors that Bird had never seen before. Yet within these places nothing took shape. Bird flew and flew, and in the distance she could make out faint, glimmering shapes like Spider, and like Tortoise, and Others. She saw the trunk of the great Tree, and saw the wings of other Birds like her, beating slowly across the vast, dark spaces. 

Bird was certain that if she flew long enough she would reach other worlds, other places. But no matter how long she flew, she could reach no place to land, and she found no others. Her wings and body began to grow tired, and she began to leave tatters of herself behind. These tatters would later become asteroids and comets, and even later still, the young worlds. And Bird's tears, as she faded into the Universe and became the places she had longed for, her tears of loneliness germinated the seeds of the cosmos, and the first stars were born.

The Old Tree Mother

(the first branch of Yirdilfi)

In the great expanse of the ancient heavens, from the back of Tortoise, and from the Spiral of Spider, grew the Old Tree Mother. The roots of her reached into the deep place where the stars had begun to grow.
The branches of her spread across the universe, and from her branches sprouted stems; Delicate bridges reaching in many directions across the limitless place where the sky lives.

Our Ancestors, who had been born in the dreams of Tortoise, and who had been sleeping in the web of Spider, awoke in the boughs of the Old Tree Mother. They looked and saw that the branches reached into places where they might go to live Together.

Our ancestors began to cross the Bridges. They went all together, without quarrel, and without complaint. Our family, our friends, our brothers and sisters, who were birds and flowers and fish and beetles and beasts, walked and swam and burrowed beside us without fear.

Our gods and guides and our mothers and fathers, walked among us In Reverence.

The journey across the bridge was long, however, and one day, one of our ancestors, in hunger, killed and ate a fish. And a fish, in hunger, killed and ate one of our ancestors. And the birds and beasts who had never known fear suddenly felt afraid. Afraid of the ancestors, whom they then called Man. And the ancestors, who had also never felt afraid, suddenly felt fear and called the flowers and birds and beasts Nature.

By now the stem of the Old Tree Mother reached into a broad green land. Our gods and guides walked and swam and flew into it, and welcomed all to follow them. There were bee people, carrying flower people. There were beaver people carrying tree people. There were elk people carrying fish people. There were goat people carrying serpent people, and lizard people carrying cactus people.... 

The birds and beasts, those who were now afraid of Men, fled into the place where the mountains and streams lived. Volcanoes erupted in the distance, and storms whirled in the sky. Our ancestors, our mothers and fathers from long before, fled into the place where the jungles and forests live. 

The gods and guides stood in the broad green land reaching out toward those who called themselves Nature, And reached out to those who now called themselves Man.

“Come back,” the Gods and Guides said. “Come and live together as you once did.”
But everyone stayed hidden, and everyone felt afraid. The Gods and Guides were sad, remembering the time before, when we had lived and walked as One.

*The Leaf of Ages*

Now the Gods and Guides stood in the place where Nature and Man had become afraid, and they were undecided. The world was good and green, but Man and Nature were not willing to share it. 

One of the Gods and Guides bent to pick up a simple green leaf, and holding it, he contemplated what it was saying to him.

“What are you looking at? That is just a leaf," said one God to another

“In the stem I see the great bridge of time we crossed as living things," the second God replied, "and in the leaf which grew from the stem, I see three paths.”
The first God mused, “Three paths?”

“Here is the path which they took," said the second, "running away in fear once they were called Man. And here is the path they took, also running away in fear once they were called Nature. And here is the path which We take.”

The first God studied the leaf, and saw the paths the leaf took in its shape.
“Look now,” the Guide said, “Look how Man and Nature are further apart from one another than they have ever been. But the leaf not only shows us our common origin, it shows us our common destiny. For in its very shape the leaf shows us the way back to one another.
It is our duty as the ambassadors of Man and Earth…"

The Three Ambassadors
And yet even among the Gods and Guides there rose a quarrel… Much time had passed, and Man hid away from his natural world, and shunned his old friends and teachers who had once guided him. He shut out the wisdoms of the old ways and made his own world, and in it he often hurt Himself, hurt Others, and harmed Earth.

Some of the gods and guides believed that Man could still be given guidance.
Some of them believed that there was no hope.

And some did not care either way, and wandered into the broad green lands to make a home there for themselves.
And so now even amongst the gods and guides there were made three paths.