Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Tale of Píríuso

Today is the Holy Day of Píríuso, the Eye of the Sun, the Radiant One, the most beautiful and glorious god of Them all.

Praise be to Him!

22-Three Kites Sun

Look up during the day and you shall see glorious Píríuso high above, guiding the sun across the sky in His golden-winged chariot. Do not stare at the sun, or you will be blinded by Píríuso’s magnificent beauty. If you listen carefully, however, you can hear the handsome sun god singing and playing His harp in a most melodious and perfect way. The most splendid Píríuso is the greatest musician of all time, as well as the supreme master of poetry, healing, archery, painting, plowing, and an endless variety of other skills. Everybody loves Píríuso, for He is perfect in every way.

When Píríuso first ascended into the sky, carrying the sun in His golden chariot, it was a wonderful day for everyone in the universe. He brought light to all the world, letting everyone bask in His magnificence. Along with Him in the chariot rode His pet beetle, a junebug, who flew around the sun god, keeping Him company.

While riding across the sky, marvelous Píríuso watched the birds flit to and fro, and decided to hone His archery skills. He took aim at a passing swan and loosed an arrow. The first shot pierced the bird, whereupon the swan was so grateful to be Píríuso’s target that it flew to His chariot before dying. Thus the Radiant One retrieved the bird as well as His arrow. Píríuso then cooked the swan by holding it close to the sun for a few moments. As the day progressed, marvelous Píríuso continued His archery practice in this manner.

In the evening, glorious Píríuso guided the sun down over the western horizon, straight into the mouth of ancient and beautiful Rana, Goddess of Clouds, Who lay in waiting. Píríuso’s junebug flittered with terror, but Píríuso did not hesitate or retreat. As darkness overcame the world behind Him, brilliant Píríuso charged ahead into Rana’s innards. Rana was one of the old gods, Who did not appreciate the superb brightness that Píríuso brought to the world, and thus She wanted to stop Him.

Lit by the sun on Píríuso’s chariot, Rana’s insides were a series of moist, reddish tunnels. Píríuso guided His horses down the largest path, which after an hour abruptly ended at a giant gate. He tugged on the reins just as a five-headed demon materialized from a hole in the tunnel floor. The demon roared at the golden god and charged. With divine deftness, Píríuso leveled His bow and shot the demon with an arrow through its chest. Píríuso’s junebug fluttered his wings with excitement. The Radiant One then rode past the dead demon and opened the gate, exposing more tunnel.

After an hour of riding, Píríuso arrived at another gate, guarded by a fiercer monster, which had claws the length of Píríuso’s legs. The Golden One filled it full of arrows, but the monster did not die, for the arrows did not penetrate deep enough into its thick hide. Enraged, the monster leapt onto Píríuso’s chariot, whereupon the sun god drew His sword and, with His full might, stabbed the beast in its belly. The monster howled in pain, but Píríuso ended that by quickly eviscerated the beast, kicking it to the tunnel floor.

The second gate opened and revealed more tunnels. As the beetle flew cautiously ahead, Píríuso wiped His blade clean and proceeded deeper into Rana’s body. In total, Píríuso defeated fourteen monsters, each successively stronger, and opened fourteen gates, one for each hour of the night. The final gate opened into Rana’s birth canal, so Píríuso led the sun out the passage and into the open, riding His chariot at top speed. Thus a new day began, with glorious Píríuso rising higher and higher into the sky above the eastern horizon.

The next evening, after the other gods had heard of His adventure, many wanted to join Him on his nighttime ride through the gates. Zhoro, God of Heat, was the first to accompany the sun god, fighting mightily at His side. To this day, Zhoro still joins magnificent Píríuso the most often, but others such as Huro, God of Thunder, and Rékaré, God of Rock, also test Their mettle often against the demons of Rana’s innards. Píríuso’s junebug always joins Them, cheering Their accomplishments with a fluttering of his iridescent wings.

During the day, as He rode His golden-winged chariot across the sky, Píríuso would play His harp for the enjoyment of His fellow gods, His pet junebug, and everyone far below. With just a few plucks of the strings, the Eye of the Sun could bring tears to your eyes, or lift your spirits to the heavens, or enliven you to action. Everyone agreed that Píríuso was the best musician in all the universe.

While soaring high above the world, Píríuso spotted a young woman far below who took His breath away. Leaving the chariot and the sun in the care of Zhoro and the junebug, Píríuso descended to the earth and introduced Himself. The beautiful woman was at once enamored by the Radiant One, for He was handsome, virile, and strong; many women desired Him, yet He had been waiting the day He met His true love. For magnificent Píríuso, that day had come. Her name was Kohívísí and she was the daughter of the King of Volosího. Kohívísí fell into His arms and their romance began.

Quite often, He would take Kohívísí in His chariot during the day, dropping her off in Volosího before descending into Rana’s mouth at sunset. They always had a difficult time separating, but they knew it was safer that way, for He had demons to fight. The King of Volosího did not like his daughter being away from home so often, but agreed that a god such as Píríuso would be a most wonderful son-in-law. The golden god and the young maiden became engaged to be wed and so their splendid romance continued.

Around the same time, in a forest far away from Volosího, a Séhala demigod named Narasíhoso discovered a flute which Vítí, Goddess of Ice, had discarded. Narasíhoso learned to play the flute and became quite proficient. All the Séhala demigods and demigoddesses loved to listen to Narasíhoso play by Their bonfire, and They complimented Him extensively. Since Narasíhoso was, by nature, vain, He soon considered Himself to be the best musician in the universe.

Glorious Píríuso knew Himself to be the best, so He didn’t pay much heed to Narasíhoso’s boastings. Narasíhoso the Séhala, on the other hand, felt the need to prove Himself. The demigod challenged magnificent Píríuso to a musical duel. They would each play one song on the instrument of Their choice, to be judged by an array of goddesses. The loser would be at the complete mercy of the winner.

Unable to deny a challenge, even though He knew He would win, Píríuso accepted the contest as described by Narasíhoso. The Radiant One handed over the chariot’s reins to Zhoro and descended to the earth for the competition. In a large, grassy valley, countless gods and demigods encircled the stage built for this purpose. Seated to one side of the stage were Kara, Goddess of Soil -- an ancient mother Who resembled a jointed octopus; Rívorí, Goddess of Wildfire -- a quick-tempered warrior with red skin; Hívuítoví, Goddess of Rain -- a winged beauty with great foresight; and Tarénara, Goddess of Hunting -- the sister of Píríuso and Lady of the Moon. Tarénara tended to despise men and all they did, so having to choose between two would be especially difficult for Her. Beautiful mortal Kohívísí sat quietly at the edge of the stage, quite impressed and overwhelmed by the crowd of divinity.

Narasíhoso was the first to play. He lifted His flute and the assemblage quieted. Softly, a melody crept through the valley. As the notes soared higher, dancing an intricate line, the hearts of everyone in the crowd soared with them. Narasíhoso swayed back and forth as He played, His eyes closed. All the gods and demigods were enthralled. When His song ended, everyone was still in reverie, letting the final hint of a glimmer of a note fade out on the wind. At last, they erupted in applause and cheering, for they had never heard such beautiful flustistry. The goddess judges, however, remained subdued, reserving Themselves until They had heard both songs.

Píríuso stepped to the center of the stage with His golden harp and the crowd grew silent once more. He gave a slight bow to the judges, then began to play. Immediately, the audience became enraptured in His music. To put it shortly, Píríuso’s song was much better than Narasíhoso’s. Píríuso was, after all, a god and the best musician in the universe. Narasíhoso never stood a chance. When Píríuso finished, holding the harp aloft in one hand to let the final notes reverberate across the land, He gave a deep bow and the audience applauded and cheered for an hour straight. Kohívísí ran to His side and He gave her a marvelous kiss which only caused the audience to cheer more wildly.

At length, after the assembled gods and demigods quieted down, the goddess judges gave Their pronouncements. Kara, the mother goddess, stood high on Her eight legs and declared Her vote for the sun god. Next, Rívorí whipped out Her sword, stabbed it at the sky, and exclaimed Píríuso’s name. The rain goddess, Hívuítoví, deferred to Tarénara, letting Her speak ahead of Her. The Lady of the Moon thanked Hívuítoví and took a step forward. She sneered at each of the men in turn, unable to see past Their sex to Their skill. After a moment of collective breath-holding, She cast Her vote for the Séhala flutist. Narasíhoso grinned. Tarénara turned up Her nose in disgust.

The winged rain goddess took center stage and without much ado, She proclaimed the winner to be the Radiant One, the Eye of the Sun, glorious Píríuso. All the gods and demigods, goddesses and demigoddesses in the valley -- excepting Tarénara and the Séhalas -- burst into applause that lasted another hour. During the cheering, Narasíhoso walked meekly to Píríuso, since He was now, by His own rules, at the sun god’s mercy. To punish the demigod for His insolence and vanity, Píríuso declared that Narasíhoso should be flayed alive. The red Rívorí was more than eager to help and started the task promptly, right on stage.

Narasíhoso stood upright through the flaying, not flinching in the slightest as His skin was removed. His tears, however, flowed freely. Mixed with His streaming blood, the tears formed a river that surged down the valley toward the sea. To this day, that river remains, running red for the length of its course. Narasíhoso’s fellow Séhalas named the river in His honor and visit its headwaters once a year to pay homage at the site where His body was returned to the earth.

The day after the contest, Tarénara and Rana discussed Píríuso in most conspiratorial tones. Neither appreciated His talents and both had a desire to hurt Him dearly. Before sunset, They decided on a course of action that would indeed cause Píríuso harm and change His fate inexorably. Beyond Rana’s desire for a lack of sunshine, She also thought Herself quite attractive and thus was unable to understand why Píríuso would desire a mortal woman ahead of Her. Instead of making the sun god fall in love with Her, however, that night while Píríuso was fighting monsters inside Her, Rana cast a spell upon Him so that He could only love the sister of His betrothed Kohívísí, whose name was Rokuhurí.

The Radiant One sadly didn’t even notice the enchantment. When He arose newborn in the morning, He knew He loved Rokuhurí and had always loved Rokuhurí. It confused Him that He was engaged to marry her sister, Kohívísí, and He knew that He shouldn’t hurt Kohívísí’s feelings by abruptly abandoning her in favor of Rokuhurí, plus it would also draw the ire of their father. Despite all this, glorious Píríuso was overwhelmingly attracted to Rokuhurí. That day, He visited Rokuhurí in secret and thus began their love affair. Rokuhurí needed no enchantment to love the sun god, for He was most beautiful and accomplished.

Soon thereafter, Kohívísí happened across Rokuhurí sneaking out of her room late at night and decided to follow her. Much to Kohívísí’s astonishment, Rokuhurí scurried across the gardens into the arms of Píríuso, Whom Kohívísí loved dearly and had still assumed was hers and hers alone. Rage overcame Kohívísí, rage directed at her sister. While the enchanted sun god and Rokuhurí stole away into the night, Kohívísí stormed into her father’s bedchamber and told the king that Rokuhurí had stolen Píríuso from her.

The King of Volosího could not stand to see his daughter’s divine betrothal ruined by the adulterous Rokuhurí. When Rokuhurí returned to her bedchamber early the next morning, she was greeted by seven guards, who promptly seized her. As the sun rose in the eastern sky, the King of Volosího presided over the live burial of his daughter. All who watched knew her sin and knew the punishment was just. Deep under the rocks and soil, Rokuhurí died.

Kohívísí was saddened by the death of her sister and her own involvement in it, but that sadness was overwhelmed by the joy of having Píríuso all to herself once more. She called out to Píríuso in His chariot high above, waving her arms to get His attention, but He remained aloft. Thanks to Rana’s enchantment, Píríuso still loved Rokuhurí dearly and could not forgive Kohívísí for having her killed. Steadfastly He rode His golden-winged chariot across the sky to the western horizon.

The next day, Kohívísí still stood in the same spot, gazing longingly toward the sun and her one true love. Píríuso passed slowly overhead, not wavering in the slightest. Kohívísí watched Him the whole day, and the next day, and the next. Despite the requests of her father, Kohívísí would not drink any water nor eat any food. She had nothing on her mind but magnificent Píríuso. In time, the king accepted his daughter’s fate and no longer bothered her. Without nourishment, her body shriveled, and yet she continued to stand tall. Before long, Kohívísí’s clothes fell away from the exposure to sun and wind and rain, and yet she remained staring wistfully at Píríuso. Naked to the hot rays of the sun, her skin turned yellow and brown, except her hands, which turned green and multiplied. Searching for water, her toes extended into the soil, forming deep roots. One day, it was apparent to all that Kohívísí was a sunflower, forever watching the Radiant One flying across the sky, forever wishing to be with Him.

In His chariot, to this day, the Eye of the Sun still longs for Rokuhurí. Many women have chased Him, but He will never love another. Powerful Píríuso continues to fight Rana’s monsters with vigor and passion; He plays marvelous music to which His pet junebug dances in the sky; He practices His healing, painting, and archery with amazing skill; and yet it shall never be that glorious Píríuso will truly love again.

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