Vignette:The Folly of the Great Deer

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The Folly of the Great Deer
From The Great Talesbook, multiple unknown authors


nce, long ago, The Old Man was upon the World, and he was alone. He became lonely, and bored, and decided to create another to keep him company, and spectacles for him to gaze upon to entertain himself. He at once created the trees, and the water. He created the grass, and the flowers. He created the chittering crickets and the fluttering butterflies.

He sat on a log and gazed upon his creations. Pleasing and beautiful were they, delighting and entertaining him. Yet he still felt alone.

Endeavoring to cure this feeling, he decided to create something more similar to himself, and to give them their own power over the nature around them.

And so, he set to work.

From four rocks, he created hooves, sturdy and strong.

From thick fallen branches of trees, he created the legs, thick and hardy, and the moss upon the leaves became the fur upon the legs.

And from the log upon which he sat came the body, meaty and tough, and just as furred.

From the mud of the stream he molded the head, odd yet majestic in shape, gazing down upon the world, its demeanor tall and princely.

And finally, two small, humble branches were placed into the top of the head, from which proud antlers of bone formed.

From the very earth had come the Great Deer, and the Old Man looked upon his creation with a great smile.

The Old Man gave the Great Deer some of his power, the power to create life, and the power to form life from the ground around him, and The Old Man told his companion to create, and to rule over his creations.

And create the Great Deer did.

He formed the fish from the shimmering pebbles in the waters and streams.

He created the small animals of the forests, from the leaves scattered along the tree floors.

He created the livestock from the grasses, and the burrowers from the dirt. And he looked upon his creations, and felt they were good, and he ruled over them, and they obeyed him, for they knew no other life than life under his rule.

The Old Man felt content, surrounded by companions, and surrounded by beauty, and so he laid himself down and slept, comforted by the warmth of life.

And for many years The Old Man slept, sleeping ever more, for his comfort was so great that he could sleep for all of time.

But as the years passed, the Great Deer became prideful, and bored.

He asked ever more of his creations, and began to look down upon them, to proclaim himself the greatest to have ever been, and demanding that the others recognize him as such.

And so they did, for many years, exalting the Great Deer, and praising him for his being, for his having created them, and soon The Old Man was forgotten, sleeping so long that the very ground upon which he laid covered and entombed him.

And as the years passed, the Great Deer became ever more bored, and ever more demanding.

Every moment of the lives of his creations were spent on his whims, and not a moment could the Great Deer be unattended, lest his wrath were invoked.

Ever more prideful and boastful the Great Deer became, until one day, in a fit of his petulant rage, he set a forest to flame.

From beneath the ground a great trembling shook the Great Deer, and from the dirt and ash The Old Man rose.

There in the ashes of the trees The Old Man stood, looking upon what his creation had wrought during his rest, and he was displeased.

And to the Great Deer he said,

“You have forgotten your place as a creation, and have only harmed your own and my own. You were not the first, and you shall not be the last, nor will any that stand here today. A creator should look upon their creations with love and kindness, not greed, and wrath. You have broken this sacred tenant, and you must learn and be humbled”

In his indignance, The Old Man stomped a foot upon the ashes where his trees had once stood, and the Great Wolf appeared, her fur a mix of those same gray white and black dustings of the earth.

The Great Deer pleaded and begged, but The Old Man took no pity on him, just as the Great Deer had taken no pity on his own creations, and set the Great Wolf upon the Great Deer to humble him.

For many years, the Great Wolf chased him, and for many years his pride still stuck in his bones, tethered to him from his tail to his antlers.

One day, however, the Great Wolf pinned the Great Deer, and broke the antlers from his head, and the pride that the Great Deer had felt was lost, and he was made remorseful and humble.

From this humbling, The Old Man forgave the Great Deer, but forever onwards those creations made in his image would too lose their pride for every year they lived, and the females would bear none so that the next generation might be more humble than the last.

And so, too, did those creations in the Great Wolf’s image forever chase those made by the Great Deer, so that his creations may never become so prideful and cruel as he had once been.

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