Tales from the island of Corazon

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
On Corazon, the fictional island in my YA fantasy novel The Illusion Queen, knowledge is taught through stories. These are four short parables used in the novel to illustrate the values and beliefs of Corazon's people. Thank you to Shino Hisano for the cover art. Please take a look at her work at www.shinohisano.com

Submitted: April 16, 2017

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Submitted: April 16, 2017

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The Choice

Joy must be sacrificed to obtain true happiness.

Four men were lost in the Wastes. They had neither food nor water and were on the verge of death when they found an old man sitting on a large stone. The old man held a pitcher made of common clay and in front of him were four glasses, one red, one green, one black, and one blue.

“You are halfway to salvation my brothers,” The old man told them, “but I cannot guarantee that you will leave the Wastes alive. All I can offer you is a drink from this picture to take with you for the rest of your journey.”

“In the red glass the pitcher will pour the most delicious wine, the green the juice of sweet fruits, the black the beautiful dreams of the liquid lotus, and in the blue plain and pure water. You may make any choice you like but you will choose for life. If you make it out of the wastelands alive, you will know no other taste on your lips for the rest of your days”

 “The first man, a wastrel, chose the liquid lotus. “What is life if one can’t dream?” he said, deaf to his companions pleas to change his choice. The second man, a drunkard, chose the wine. “What is life if one can’t rejoice?” he said when the others protested. The third man, a weak and portly one, chose the juice. “What is life if one can’t savor its sweetness?” he reasoned. The fourth, a simple and selfless man, chose the water.

 “Water is life” he said in his defense as the other mocked him.

“The old man filled their cups and sent the men on their way. The wastrel danced and sang with imaginary women and, as the dream took hold of him, laid down in the poisonous, red sand and buried himself alive. The other three, unable to wake him from his dream, left him to his death. 

The drunkard kept with his companions for a while but the wine began to swell in his head. The joy of his drunkenness turned to sorrow and his companions left him as he fell into a slumber from which he did not wake.

The juice was nourished the portly man for a time, but the sweetness began to corrupt his body. A new and stronger thirst grew in him with every drink. Over time it created madness in him, and in desperation to weaken the sweetness of his drink he mixed it with the bitter, poisonous sand, drank it, and died.”

“The simple man wandered alone and, despite the fates of his companions, at times envied them even in their deaths. For the man knew that he too may not make it out of the Wastes, and he cursed the tastelessness of the water that cured him of his thirst but would bring him neither salvation nor joy.

But once he came upon his village he was welcomed with a great celebration. A great feast was held in his honor. But it was then that he found that the old man’s words were true. For no matter what he placed in his mouth, whether it be a sweet cake or an oily fish, all he could taste was water.

Yet the man did not curse his fate. He rejoiced with his family and friends, savored the warmth of his home and bed, and was thankful for every breath he took for the rest of his life.”

The Hare and the Hawk

Knowledge will give one no comfort in the face of truth.

A single hare, burdened by the deaths of so many of its brothers and sisters, journeyed alone to the hawks perch on an ancient oak tree. The hawk, bewildered by the sight of the hare supplicating itself at the base of the tree, asked the hare why it would risk its life so foolishly.

The hare replied, “Hawk, you have great power over us, the very power of life and death. I cannot ask that you spare me or my brothers and sisters, I can only ask that you tell me which of us will prey upon, so the rest may no longer live in fear of you.”

The hawk laughed at the hare’s request.

“That I have power over you is true.” The Hawk said.

“When I see you below me, I can swoop down and crush your throat in my talons, or, I can fly onward and search for other prey. Whether I decide to kill you or spare you is my decision. But what I cannot do, the power I do not have, is to comfort you. I cannot tell you who I will kill, and who I will choose to spare, because I myself will not know till my hunger sets to flight.”

The hare, despondent at his failure, returned to his brothers and sisters. Upon hearing the hawk’s words, some chose to burrow underground, and others played in the open field. The shadow of the hawk loomed over them all.

The Sisters

All life is born out of death.

There was once a man who with two daughters. They lived in a small house on a meadow that bordered a forest. As sunny and pleasant as the meadow was; the forest was dark and thick with trees that blocked out the sky. Inside the forest even a cloudless day would seem like night.

Every day the man would venture into the forest to cut wood, which he would sell to the villagers who lived far from the forest. The villagers themselves would not go into the forest, for they feared it, and believed it was the abode of unhappy and vengeful spirits. The daughters would wait for their father in the shade of a tree whose roots were in the black soil of the forest, yet the trunk curved outward from the dense thicket of the forest and arched over the sunlit meadow. The girls would swing from the branches that dangled from the trunk as they waited for their father to return with his cart full of wood and mouth full of stories of the wondrous creatures and sights he had seen that day.

 But one day, when the girls had become young women, and the curved trunk of the tree was thick and strong, their father did not return. One of the sisters, who was diligent and respectful, believed they should wait for their father, and not venture into the forest to look for him, for this is what he had told them every morning he left to chop wood.

The other sister, who was a fiery and difficult, wanted to search the forest that very night. The respectful sister tried to reason with the other, but it was not long before they quarreled, and neither was able to convince the other to join them, either in wait or in search.

The respectful sister waited under the trunk of the tree as her sister went to search for their father. But he was never found. Every morning the sisters quarreled, and each day the fiery sister went into the woods while the other waited by the tree. For one cycle of the moon this ritual was repeated until finally the day came when the fiery sister did not return. Now the respectful sister waited under the tree for both her father and her sister all day and night, and did not take bread or water, and began to wither.

The village people visited her and tried to convince her to stop waiting, to take care of herself and her home, and to take up a brave husband who would venture into the forest to cut the wood the villagers needed.

But she would not listen. The villagers grew angry with her, and told her that neither her father nor her sister had actually vanished in the woods, but had abandoned her and were living happily without her. But she stayed, and when the villagers found her lifeless body, they buried her under the arch of the tree and took what they needed from her home.

A cycle of the Moon passed when the fiery daughter returned after wandering the forest in vain. She saw at once that her sister was no longer there, and that there home was barren and livestock gone. The sister went to the villagers and demanded they return what they had taken and to tell her what had happened to her sister.

At first the villagers protested, and did not believe she was the missing sister, for her time in the forest had much changed her. Her hair was now matted and tangled as the underbrush, her eyes dark as its moonless night, and skin as crackled and grey as the bark that covered its trees. But when she showed them her father’s axe, which she had found entangled in the branches of a gnarled oak, they at last believed her. The returned what they took, and showed her where her sister had been put to rest.

When she saw that her sister was truly gone the fiery one wailed above her grave. The tears poured out of her eyes, ran down the cracks of her skin, and formed puddles by her feet. Her toes, which had become shriveled and black during her journey, stretched out and took in the water from her tears, and became roots that drove themselves deep into the ground. Her feet and legs bound together, and her crackled skin became that of bark. Her father’s axe splintered as her hands and arms turned into branches covered in beautiful flowers. Her hair reached up for the arc of the tree trunk under which they had waited for their father and became entangled with it, and grew like vines as it wrapped itself up the trunk of the tree until all that was human about the sister was gone.

The sister and the tree from the forest had now formed an archway, a bridge between the forest and meadow, and where the two trees met sprung a new trunk, one that grew higher and higher until it disappeared in the clouds. The tree grew so high it pierced the glass cover of the sky and broke into the blue waters of our world, and made the island of Corazon.

Children of the Sun, Children of the Moon

The origin of night and day, life and death.

It was a time when the first flower was only a seed, the ocean only a drop of rain, and the sun and moon shared the sky as lovers. The sun, the father, gave us all life. The moon, his barren wife, looked at the sun’s creations and desired children of her own. She asked her husband the sun for a place on Corazon where his light would not shine, so that she may have children of her own creation. The sun, loving his wife the moon, granted her this request.

Unlike the Sun’s children, who are made of flesh, blood and bone, the children of the moon were like silver mist. They glowed in her light, and though the sun found them strange, the moon loved them and thought them beautiful. She stayed with them on her half of Corazon. The sun’s love for his wife turned to jealousy towards her children. When the Moon would no longer come to him, the Sun chased after her, broke his promise, and his light killed her children.

Yet the Moon’s children were not all killed. The Moon knew of her husband’s jealousy, and dug holes for them to hide in should he come. They grew to hate the sun, and his creations.

This is the story of why the Sun chases the Moon for the Moon, in her anger, will not return to him to share the sky.

And once the Moon crossed the lands of the children of the Sun, she laid a terrible curse upon us. For when the Sun and Moon were one, life had no end. But once the moon crossed the sky alone, and looked down at the children of the Sun, we came to know death. Now the sun, as it chases the moon, must watch helplessly as his children die, turn to silver mist, and hide from him in the darkness.


© Copyright 2018 T.E. Dickason. All rights reserved.

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