Contents - This Great Society - Issue 5, Mythology - December 2009/January 2010
Creative Writing
Jim Boraas
The Day the Gods Closed Their Eyes
Illustration by Jim Boraas

Anyone who is educated has heard the tale of the day the gods closed their eyes, and how that event affected the peasant Nashus.

The first rule of the universe is this: the gods are always watching. Their eyes are a million lights, high and low and in between, always watching, always judging. Long ago, when they first created man, the council of the gods became outraged at his ability to hide from them. His mischievousness and propensity for exploration confounded them. So they filled the night sky with orbs of fire to make sure that they could always locate him. They also knew that the man relished the darkness and they punished him by replacing half of his night with daytime, which was governed by the largest Fire-Orb of all.
             And so the gods have ruled for millennia, always watching, always judging. But one day they blinked. It was cosmic interference by an unknown power. It was a revolt by nature. It was love that could not be stopped.

As the number of people multiplied on the earth, the gods became unable to monitor them all. The Fire-Orb still shone brightly over the masses, but it was impossible for the gods to account for the individuals. So they created the False Fire—a series of tiny orbs, which floated unsuspectingly across the land. It was through this False Fire that the gods surveyed everything on earth: movement, communication, even shadows. The False Fire was visible to all men, but was so high that only the Trees were near enough to reach it.
             At the far end of the land there lived a humble peasant named Nashus, who worked in a garment shop. He was uneducated but had a very quick wit, so it was decided that he be allowed to study at the most prestigious and expensive academy in the land.
             Everybody kept telling Nashus how lucky he was to be representing the whole town with this honour, but Nashus didn’t see it this way. In fact, he was dreading his departure, for the academy was far away and, you see, Nashus was in love.
             It was a simple kind of love really, and it warranted nobody’s attention. But still, the gods were watching, always watching through that damnable False Fire.


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