Ash Ball- A Just So Story

In a land of snow and ice, in a different age, there once was a strange looking firework, and all the other fireworks had different opinions as to what the strange firework would look like in the air. When the other fireworks looked at it from different angles, no two views were very much alike. None of the other fireworks could see every detail of the strange firework (and they thought this was weird, only because they never bothered to look at themselves from every angle). The other fireworks chatted among themselves, some laughing at the strange firework, some offended, and some merely curious. None of them had the same opinion about the strange firework, and the strange firework remained quiet while smiling sadly to itself.
Finally a huge celebration came around, and the fireworks were set off. All of the fireworks lit small patches of the sky, mixing their colors for seconds. The strange firework waited, smiling sadly, watching the colors flash through the air, trying to understand the reason why each firework lit up with only certain colors. All of the other fireworks passed the strange firework, pretty for a moment. Then, the other fireworks would fall, burned and wasted husks of what they were. They would fall to the earth and become buried under the slow rain of other spent firework bodies. Crushed underfoot, even their graves were forgotten.

The strange firework sat, considering the colors, wondering whether she should let herself be found, so that she might fly into the sky. The firework spoke with the ocean, and with the ice, learning that the ocean and ice were in fact one being, part of whose soul had been frozen by some unknown force. Was it a curse? Was it an accident? The ocean did not know, but mourned that her soul should be frozen across the land in great glaciers of ice. Though she could pull the glaciers to her, carving great canyons and mountains out of the land, she could not melt her own soul, and thereby make herself whole. Long were their conversations during the celebration, and if you listen to the whales, sometimes you can hear bits of the conversation preserved by the ocean in the songs of the whales. Sadly, the conversations were not long enough for either the firework or the ocean.
Finally, after the fireworks near the strange firework had left, a group of strangers came to her, looking at her from every angle, and in seeing her from every angle, they agreed on one thing: she is made to fly in the sky and to burn in some way. Therefore they drove her to it. So they lit her, forcing her to burn and instead of exploding among the strangers – which is what many of the other fireworks predicted she would do - and maiming the strangers, she flew so very high, higher, high, higher than high, at which point she exploded, burning in fiery waves, charring the sky, blazing like a second sun with a nimbus of all the undulating colors, dancing across the sky around the world.

The people on the streets stopped celebrating and looked up, the people of each nation gaped in horror and awe, and the world stood still in either delight or fear at the burning second sun, which was the strange firework, though no one – except perhaps the group of strangers - knew it was the strange firework. Without knowing of the name or about the existence of the strange firework, they knew that second sun. But they only saw the light of the second sun, never the strange firework.

Some became used to the second sun after seconds, some marveled at the second sun their entire lives. Yet, the land warmed with her brightness, the ocean shone under her essence, and many of the glaciers melted, running to the sea. But, finally, the second sun stopped burning – the strange firework stopped exploding – and all that remained was a white ball of ash in the sky, never falling back down, but always travelling across the sky in time with suns-death before the coming of the darkness. At night, after suns-death, the ash-ball would shine whitely with light gleaned from the sun, and that ball of ash was the only grave – a sky grave – that the strange firework ever had. The world was her tombstone, the people were her epitaph, and only the ocean waves restlessly mourned her, sighing endlessly, throwing itself insanely upon the shores, seeking to drown the world in the ocean’s sorrow.

There is no one alive who remembers the strange firework anymore – except for the ocean – and not even the ocean remembers her whole name, but if you listen to the ocean long enough, you can hear the ocean murmuring syllables and sounds. Those are the sounds of the letters which make up part of the strange firework’s name in many languages (“hiiiiissss… shuuuu… shaaaa… paaahhh… shhhhhh…”).

So, the ball of ash remains, now an accepted fact, circling the world, the spirit of the strange one staring down, dead, but ever watching. Wanderer. Stranger. Guest, passing on. Sadly smiling.

We call her grave – all that she has left behind – by many names, ‘Moon”, “der Mond”, “Nut”, “lua” and etc.

But we no longer remember her, or her name.

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