The Myth Series – 2

Great boat tailed grackle

Remember the first myth as spun by The Old Fool?  He is  at it again. Remember the wizened wise elders, the curious children, and the pantheon of gods with which the first peoples were familiar?

The wizened who spoke at the fireside during The Old Fools first retelling were chagrined.  Too often they had been forced to admit that they did not know answers to simple questions asked by curious children. 

Even more embarrassing, they had been forced to speculate that the gods made the universe out of nothing. (Even now, though scientists say that matter comes from energy, The Old Fool asks, from whence comes energy?  His own curiousity leads him to postulate an Uncaused First Cause.)

Logs felled by beavers

During the long night the wizened elders dreamed constantly, and tossed restlessly. The next day they took their places on their thinking logs. They sat very still for a long, long time, and imagined.  In the twilight they clustered to share their dreams and imaginations.  

A conclusion?  They could deal credibly with their curious children only if their answers were consistent with what the children saw around them.  Then they joined the camp fire for another round of Q and A. 

But, opines the imaginative Old Fool, the first myths were not told by a single camp fire. No, not just one, but many campfires, over a long, long-long time, and the myth evolved through questioning by curious children and answered by wizened, wise and imaginative old story tellers.

But, over time, the myths were summarized into one grand myth as told and written down for the first Hebrews.  The Old Fool can do no better, so he spins a summary of that old myth.

The first people seated by the camp fire remembered the bright light of the day just past and saw the light from the fire that warmed them.  Where did light come from? asked the curious children.

The wizened speculated that the gods said simply “let there  be light” and there it was. The wizened added that when the gods saw that the light made things warm and visible they said, “That’s good.”  

The wizened explained that the gods put things in order as they spoke them into being. They arranged for the separation of light and dark into day and night.  That, surmized the wizened,  was day one.

The curious children looked up. They saw what looked like water floating high above them. Then they looked down, and  saw they were standing on what was firm beneath their feet with water flowing round.  What keeps the water up there? they pointed. What separates the waters up there from the waters down here? they worried.

A beaver lodge

The wizened sighed and relied on the gods for an answer.  It is the gods, they said.  They fastened an empty space up there to  separate the water below from the water above.  The elders said that the gods called what was above the earth, sky. When the gods saw that the people were safe from too much water they said, “That’s good.”   That must have been day two, said the wizened.

The third in the series will appear soon.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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