Grandfather once told me Part one: The Nameless Angel and the Child Goddess
„Mastered by desire impulsive,
By a mighty inward urging,
I am ready now for singing,
Ready to begin the chanting
Of our nation’s ancient folk-song
Handed down from by-gone ages.
In my mouth the words are melting,
From my lips the tones are gliding,
From my tongue they wish to hasten;
When my willing teeth are parted,
When my ready mouth is opened,
Songs of ancient wit and wisdom
Hasten from me not unwilling.”
The poem above is the first verse from Kalevala, the great epic of the Finnish. It has always been very close to my heart. I remember when my grandfather read it to me. 50 songs, each for a night before sleeping.
But this is not a story about Kalevala. That story has been told countless times before. This is a story about my grandfather. He was an extraordinary man. He knew such great stories. About vast, ancient kingdoms, nameless heroes, and the fae folk. I decided to write them down, not particularly in order, just how they come to my mind. He always taught me to pass on what I have learned.
I entered his room. It was huge, filled with secrets. And it smelled old. Old as time itself. Grandpa looked at me from his book and smiled.
„What can I do for you, Little Shadow?” He gave me a lot of nicknames, more than I could count right now. I earned them all, and I was proud of them. I had a „real” name of course, but the ones he gave me felt more like me than anything else. I got the name „Little Shadow” after how quiet my footsteps are.
„Tell me a story, Grandpa!” I asked.
„Hmmm, and what kind of story do you want to hear, dear?” he asked, while pointing at the armchair next to him.
„Anything you tell me.” I said, sitting down comfortably.
„Very well then…” he nodded. „Have you ever heard the story of the Nameless Angel and the Child Goddess?” I nodded my head. He smiled and started the story.
„Imagine a place where the shadows live. It’s in a never ending darkness. Now, when I say darkness, don’t imagine the scary, pitch black type. It’s more like… comforting in a sense. Deep and warm. Imagine huge forests, giant caverns, forgotten roads. Imagine the creatures of the night. Some are small, insignificant. Some burn with a blue flame. Some are ancient. Some whisper secrets to the wind, and if you are careful enough, you can hear stories told by them. Stories forgotten a long time ago.
Now imagine the night sky. The Moon and the stars. Now, they’re not our stars, they’re theirs. They form constellations unfamiliar to us. But the Moon… it’s ours too, since there is only one Moon.
Have you ever seen a shooting star? They say, your wish comes true, if you see one. But have you ever wondered what are shooting stars exactly? Well, our story begins with one, so just listen carefully.
These stories usually start with „Once upon a time…” or „One day…”. This one won’t. This story will start with „Imagine…”
Imagine a shooting star, flying right to the ground. The creatures seeing it wished for something nice. The star crashed into the middle of an ancient forest.
Now, in our world, shooting stars crashing down are usually nothing more than rocks. Cold, sad, empty rocks. But in that world, shooting stars are angels. Imagine an angel, unconscious, lying on the ground. Imagine silver blood dripping from their injuries.
The blood lured Beasts toward them. The leader Beast stepped out and smelled the angel. It licked their blood. But the blood burned the Beast’s tongue. It started screeching and ran away, with it’s pack.
The angel lay there for a long time. Not days, since they can’t count days without a sun, but for surely, a very long time. They lay there untouched, since nobody knew they were there, except the Beasts, but a hole on the leader’s tongue was enough to scare them away. The angel was beautiful, even with blood dripping from their wings.
After a long time, the angel finally woke up. They opened their eyes, but immediately closed them. They tried to fly away, back where they came from, but their wings were broken. They started crying. They cried so long that where their tears landed, flowers started growing. But they didn’t see them, since they closed their eyes, and refused to open them. Everything was so silent, yet so full with voices. Tiny creatures’ footsteps, the wind howling lightly, leaves whispering gently.
„Why are you crying, friend?” heard the angel once.
„Because… because there’s no light, and… and…” they couldn’t finish, just started sobbing again.
„Open your eyes.”
„No. There’s only darkness.” The stranger was silent for a while.
„You’re an angel, right? I know your kind. You live up there, in the sky, seeing only light. It’s sad if you ask me.”
„Why? Light is the most beautiful thing on this earth!”
„There’s no light without darkness, angel. Open your eyes.” the angel finally did it.
„There are so many things… what are these?” they pointed to the flowers.
„You grew them with your tears.” said the voice, who now had a body as well. It was a child, with long, gleaming blonde hair. She was wearing flowers in it, and a simply, white dress. She was bare feet.
„Who are you?” asked the angel.
„People know me as the Child Goddess.” the child answered. „And who are you, angel?”
„I…I don’t know. I have no name. And neither home. They casted me out.”
„Because I started dreaming.” sighed the angel.
„Is that a bad thing?”
„Angels shouldn’t dream. Dreams are impure and dangerous.”
„Well, angels are stupid then! Dreams are beautiful. Without dreams, there would be no reality. Without dreams, there wouldn’t be art. There wouldn’t be stories. We would all be…empty. Empty, like you, angels up there in the sky.”
„Am I empty too,” asked the angel, worried what the child would answer.
„No. Not anymore. Walk with me, so I can show you how to fill your heart, soul and mind with wonders.”
Now, imagine a child leading an angel, by grabbing their hand. Imagine two silhouettes walking in the dark realm, looking for wonders.”
Grandpa finished the story. He looked at me, almost as if he waited for my reaction.
„This can’t be it!” I said. „Where’s the rest? What’s the moral of the story?”
„Why do you think it needs a moral?” Grandpa asked.
„Because stories have a moral.” I answered. Grandpa shook his head.
„That’s a lie, Little Shadow.”
„Then what’s the truth?”
„The truth is that people always look for deeper meanings, but a lot of times, it’s not needed. Let stories be stories, Little Shadow.”