Petty Gods: 2 Tales of the Jale God

2 Tales of the Jale God

Lamchka, a priest in the temple of the Jale God, preferred to sleep instead of pray. The other priests took pity on him; when they went to ritual, they left him sleeping in the entrance to the temple.

One day as he was sleeping, a nobleman came to the temple to offer sacrifice to the Jale God. He saw Lamchka sleeping in the doorway, and being a superstitious man, did not desire to wake the priest, as all know that gods commune with their priests in dream. The nobleman placed his sacrifice, a large sack of rye, at Lamchka’s head and then departed.

Lamchka awoke a short time after, smacking his lips and wiping the sleep from his eyes. He saw the sack at his feet and exclaimed “Ho, the Jale God is bountiful! I dreamed of bread and strong drink, and here the Jale God provides me grain for both!” Lamchka carried the sack into the temple and thought to himself “Surely the Jale God meant this rye for me! The others will steal it so I must make haste to preserve it while I can!” So he brought it to the store room and placed it on a high shelf, behind pots of honey and sacks of flour.

He began to plot and plan thinking aloud “Tomorrow I will get yeast and a barrel and maize and I will take these to the cellar; I will take some of the rye to mix with this fine flour and make hearty bread that I will put before the altar. Surely the Jale God would rather I take what he has given and return a percentage to him in four-fold form!”

As he was fantasizing, a rat crept along the high shelf and knocked over a pot of honey. The pot fell on Lamchka and killed him. The Jale God laughed.

Two doddering scriveners were rambling through the archives. One said to the other, “We are mere acquaintances yet we must help each other. If any god is angry with you, I will help you in your time of need.” The other doddering scrivener said “And I, too, will help you if any god’s wrath should seek your life.”

After many centuries, one of them angered the Jale God through no fault of his own and called to the other to remember their promise. The two ran through the archives seeking refuge. One doddering scrivener climbed high into the archive shelves. The other was too frail to climb so buried himself deep into stacks of moldy parchments.

When the Jale God came looking for them in the archives, he immediately spotted the scrivener high on the shelf, wedged between two scroll cases. The Jale God summoned another doddering scrivener working in the stacks and whispered in his ear, pointing at the shelf-bound scrivener. Then the Jale God left, chuckling to himself as a trail of ichor seeped behind him.

The scrivener hiding in the parchments watched this entire scene while holding his breath. Then he revealed himself to the scrivener to whom the Jale God had spoken. “What did the Jale God command?” he asked.

The summoned scrivener pointed to the one high on the shelf. “He told me to tell you not to trust that one up there; cowards reveal themselves by sacrificing others to save themselves.”