Saturday, December 27, 2014

Petty Gods: The Jale God Hunts

The Jale God Hunts

Long ago, there lived a landowner in a certain village. Being a rich man, he was often the target of thieves and kidnappers and so to protect his family, he worked ancient magics to turn his wife and children into sheep to keep them safe from his enemies. At dawn each day they shed their human skin and became beasts; at night each one regained its form. A vigilant stable of shepherds took the flock afield each day from sunrise to sunset and watched over them, armed with spears and slings. One stormy day as the shepherds returned to the village, a young lamb lagging behind the flock was attacked by the Jale God in the form of a wolf.

“Youngling, youngling,” said the wolf. “How are you? Are you comfortable with this flock? Do the elder ewes treat you well? Does your mother let you still suck?”

Before the lamb could answer, the wolf continued, “And do you think, Kaniv, son of Mavlin, whom I have called by true name, that you will escape? You have been pinching my tail and plucking the hair from my ears for miles! What do you have to say for yourself?”

The lamb replied, “How could I do such a thing? For was I not in front of you and not behind?”

But the wolf said, “Which path did you take into the village? Do you not know that I watch all paths and that I spread my watch over all the ways into the sheepfold?”

The lamb replied, “My mother tells me you watch the paths; that is why I came through the air!”

The wolf laughed and replied, “If what you say is true, a flying lamb is a fearsome sight! You must have scared off the deer I was hunting before you arrived!” And having thus spoken, the Jale God leapt upon the lamb, tore off its head, and supped on its flesh.