When Women Ruled the Land

A fitting microfiction tale for Jane Dougherty’s Sunday Strange Microfiction Photo Prompt on this International Women’s Day. Peace all! 🙂

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Painting by Hans Thoma

Once upon a time, when women ruled the land, the Earth Goddess appeared on Elysium Mount playing her harp to call forth Spring. The people, dressed in white, gathered in vernal fields to celebrate the emergence of new life. It was said that one could hear the sound of Earth Goddess’s harp for miles, from sea to sea. It was a time of peace, hope and prosperity.

But Old Man Winter was not fond of Earth Goddess’s gaiety or her authority. He particularly disdained her warmth and light and greenness.

“Too much green!” he bellowed, as he spewed cold nips of icy breath across the plains to dissuade the buds from blooming.

“Too much light! he bemoaned, as he sent the darkest cloak of blackness to loom over the land in the wee, late hours of night to suppress the flickering sparks of dawn.

“She is much too hot!” he growled from the center of his cold, cold heart. “The world does not need new. Things are fine just the way they are!” Old Man Winter whined every year as he retreated to the earth’s poles to wait for Spring and Summer to Fall.

Of course it was completely out of place for him to demand that the seasons, the earth and his way of bitter existence upon it, be only as he wished it to be. The seasons are as sure as the rising of the sun and the setting of the moon.

While in exile, Old Man Winter devised a plan to usurp the Earth Goddess’s rule. As winter was fading on the cusp of spring the following year, Old Man Winter sent two messengers, Power and Greed, to visit Earth Goddess as she played her harp on Elysium Mount. An enchanted flute-playing Lizard joined them. Lizards, as you know, are powerful totems of regeneration, renewal and rebirth, but they can be quite lethal, breathing fire and destruction, if allowed to sprout wings.

“Hello Fair Earth Goddess,” Power began, “we think the Spring Festival would be much more festive if you would consider adding the talents of our friend Lizard to your sinfonietta. He is a fine flautist from the rocky shoal along the Crystal Sea.”

“Imagine the beautiful music you could create together!” added Greed, “after all, two is better than one, don’t you agree?”

Knowing the legend and lore of the Lizard and seeing that he did not bear even the slightest bud of wings upon his back, Earth Goddess agreed to let Lizard play his pipe to her harp.

So enchanting and mesmerizing was the duo that the people stopped dancing to listen. It was then, that the Lizard sprouted wings, launching into a spree of terror from the sky, as had been the plan. The people scattered in fear to every corner of the earth leaving Earth Mother alone amidst the fading blooms of Spring; fading because she had stopped playing her harp when she realized she had been played. Finally, a cold wind whipped through her, ejecting her from the mount. She realized the culprit of the plot, but it was too late. Old Man Winter had won.

He still allows Spring to pass through each year, but he is clearly in control reminding her of this fact by sending unseasonal gusts of icy air. The Piper, (or Lizard as he was once known) still plays his pipe, its melody traveling on the wind while the people shudder, still scattered and fearful of shadows, bumps in the night and fire from the sky.

As history will attest, it was also the beginning of the time when men, fearful of women’s strong intuition and powerful ability to create and nurture, began to use fear to their own advantage, as a way control the people.

Though thousands of years have passed since the coup, I have heard that on rainy spring days, if one listens closely, the sound of the Earth Goddess’s harp can still be heard between rain droplets. She is close by, waiting for the day when peace, hope and prosperity are released from their chains and she is restored to her place atop Elysium Mount. On that day she will play and play, and the people will dance once again.

~kat – 8 March 2017


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