Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Tale of Korutuzho

Korutuzho is dead, but He will return! Harvest your crops that He helped grow, and take a day to celebrate His glorious life. The summer may now be over, but in the darkest days of winter, the Father of the Gods will be born anew! The cycle shall forever continue. The earth will again be green, come spring.

23-Thorp Field

When Korutuzho was but a youth, His father Sorosotuzho, God of the Atmosphere, was Ruler of the Universe and King of the Gods. Sorosotuzho ruled the universe well, but He was afraid of the new and the untested and anything that might upset the universal balance and harmony that He had created. To aid His tight control of the universe, Sorosotuzho granted His son Korutuzho power over vegetation so that He could ensure crops flourished on schedule and everyone could eat their full.

Well equipped for this task, Korutuzho performed brilliantly. The fields and orchards provided a never-ending supply of food for all the gods, demigods, and mortals throughout the world. Everyone loved Him. So talented was Korutuzho -- and so handsome -- that Rana, Goddess of Clouds and the most beautiful of all, eagerly became His wife. They lived in marital bliss and the universe prospered.

Trouble began, however, when Rana acted on Her desire for Her husband to gain more power. She thought so highly of Korutuzho that She decided He should rule the universe in His father’s stead. Thusly, She attempted to steal the Tablet of Destinies from Sorosotuzho. The tablet, as we all know, describes the fate of every soul throughout time, as well as proclaims the possessor to be the Ruler of the Universe.

Rana failed. Sorosotuzho imprisoned Her deep within the earth. Then, since the thought of losing power dredged up His deepest fears of change, Sorosotuzho abruptly imprisoned all the younger gods, including Korutuzho. Throughout the world, crops withered and died. People began to go hungry, starve, and perish. Imprisoned deep within the earth, Korutuzho felt ashamed that He could do nothing to help.

Soon, though, Kara, Goddess of Soil and the very earth Herself, decided that She needed to assist the younger gods to save the universe. She offered escape through Her soil to any god Who would challenge Sorosotuzho and bring new life to the universe. Korutuzho gladly accepted.

Tightly gripping His trusty flint sickle, Korutuzho burst from the earth like a babe from His mother’s womb, arriving directly in front of His father. Quite surprised, Sorosotuzho nevertheless instantly knew His reign had ended. With a quick slash of His sickle, Korutuzho castrated His father, sending the elder god running for the skies. Korutuzho held the Tablet of Destinies aloft, declared Himself to be the King of the Gods, and released His brethren from Their imprisonment below.

Thus Korutuzho ushered in a golden age of prosperity and peace. More so than before, crops flourished and everyone had endless leisure time to construct great temples, explore distant lands, and invent wondrous items ranging from the wheel to money. Slavery was abolished, for there was no work for slaves to do. With Rana, Korutuzho fathered numerous gods, such as Nuvíní, High Goddess of Earth, and Sozho, High God of Air. Korutuzho is truly the Father of the Gods.

With all the spare time, many mortals began to delve into debauchery, gambling, and other nonproductive activities. One kingdom in particular increasingly drew Korutuzho’s anger as the king would often give his crown for a day to any passerby while the king went carousing. All the nobles were soon following the king’s fashion, handing over their responsibilities to their servants while the nobles would get completely drunk and have raucous orgies for days and days.

When Korutuzho could no longer control His wrath, the Great Castrator unleashed storms upon the repugnant kingdom. Torrential rain, hail, and lightning pounded the land, destroying property and crops alike. The surviving vegetation quickly withered and died without Korutuzho’s loving care. When the mortals ran out of wine and food, they realized something was the matter. Soon they rushed to Korutuzho’s temple, honoring Him with what little they had remaining. Once the Father of the Gods decided that the mortals were sincere in their declarations, He rejuvenated the kingdom’s land. The mortals once again lived in the golden age under Korutuzho’s care. All was once again good and prosperous in the universe.

The day came, however, when Korutuzho’s son, Sozho, demanded it was His turn to rule the universe. Much to Korutuzho’s chagrin, the two gods faced off in single combat upon an open field. With all the freedom that Korutuzho’s beneficence and power had bestowed upon all, Sozho had had years and years to practice swordfighting. Furthermore, Sozho was equipped with a magic shield that wrapped around His body, rendering Him virtually invulnerable. Korutuzho fought reluctantly and valiantly, yet Sozho defeated Him.

With a slash of His sword, Sozho slit open Korutuzho’s belly, spilling His innards onto the soil and draining the blood from His body. As Korutuzho collapsed and died, His son lifted the Tablet of Destinies, becoming the new Ruler of the Universe and King of the Gods. Rana ran to Her husband’s body, tears streaming from Her eyes as She began to wail.

Korutuzho’s spirit descended to the Underworld, yet again removed from His splendid role as giver of bountiful harvests. Throughout the world, all beings divine and mortal joined Rana in mourning Korutuzho’s death. Fields of wheat crumbled to dust; grapes on the vine shriveled to inedible lumps; a cold wind swept over the land, carrying a first flurry of snow. Everyone quickly gathered all the food they could, for no one knew if they’d be able to grow crops ever again.

In the Underworld, Korutuzho arrived for judgment at the great hall of Pétíso, God of Death, Who was one of Korutuzho’s children. On a matching throne beside Pétíso was His wife Vuzhí, Goddess of Life and the Queen of the Dead. Her apple-green skin shone brilliantly in the dismal hall as She smiled pleasantly at Korutuzho, but the hissing viper atop Her head made Korutuzho reconsider His appraisal of Vuzhí’s beauty and charm. He did know, however, that Vuzhí’s mother Nuvíní, High Goddess of Earth, had been searching for Vuzhí aboveground, where nobody knew of Her marriage to Pétíso. As far as Korutuzho considered the matter, the Goddess of Life should not be buried in the Underworld, but up above, bringing life to all the universe.

Behind Pétíso stood His two counselors: heron-headed Sívorí, Goddess of Stars, and fly-faced Néhété, God of Poisonous Air, Who would assist Pétíso in ascertaining Korutuzho’s afterlife and potential reincarnation. Néhété asked never-ending questions of Korutuzho, Sívorí gave interpretations of Korutuzho’s answers, and Pétíso would make His judgment. As the interrogation progressed, the Father of the Gods became increasingly aware that Vuzhí’s gaze toward Him was transitioning from amiable to lustful. Korutuzho was quite handsome, in body and spirit, so it was only natural for a female such as Vuzhí to long to leave Her loveless marriage and be with Him.

Suddenly, Pétíso’s guard dog outside barked, whimpered, then barked some more. Néhété stopped in mid-question and stared at the entrance to the great hall. Korutuzho turned to find a dense fog seeping under the doors, quickly enveloping Him in its thick whiteness. Pétíso leapt up from His throne to do something, but He too was abruptly buried by the fog. Unseen by all, someone grabbed Korutuzho’s wrist and guided Him out of the great hall. Soon They were back in the world of the living and Korutuzho discovered His wife, Rana, gripping His wrist. They embraced in joy as the world around Them burst to life, sparked green and fresh by Korutuzho’s rebirth.

The Father of the Gods resumed His care for the crops and orchards of the world, but let His son Sozho keep the Tablet of Destinies and control of the universe. Korutuzho also told His daughter Nuvíní of the location and marriage of Vuzhí. The earth goddess tried to convince Vuzhí to return to the land of the living, but Vuzhí would not abandon Her throne and Her husband.

Despite that, Vuzhí still longed for Korutuzho. Playing upon Pétíso’s anger at having a soul stolen from Him, Vuzhí easily got Him to agree to bring Him back to the underworld. The easiest method was to kill Korutuzho yet again, and so Pétíso called upon His friend Névazhíno, God of Animals, for the task.

Névazhíno, Who never thought through anything, agreed at once to Pétíso’s request. The animal god transformed into a boar and set off across the land to find Korutuzho. Not knowing of this impending doom, Korutuzho was working mightily in the fields, under the hot sun that fed the crops. As His wife Rana coaxed a cloud overhead to give Him a brief respite, the boar Névazhíno burst through the cornstalks and gored Korutuzho with His tusks.

The boar raced away, His task complete. Rana swept down to Korutuzho’s side, only to watch Him die yet again. With Korutuzho, so went the crops. As the world mourned Korutuzho’s death, everyone hastily harvested all they could, before the cold and darkness settled upon the land once more. Down in the Underworld, Vuzhí could not contain Her enthusiasm at having handsome Korutuzho back in Her presence. She embraced Him, welcoming the Great Castrator back to the land of the dead, thus embarrassing both Korutuzho and Pétíso.

Aboveground, Névazhíno started bragging about what He had done, and on Whose direction He had done it. When Rana heard the news, She erupted in fury. She wanted to race down to the Underworld and rescue Her husband yet again, but She also knew that Vuzhí could take Him back just as easy, and the cycle would never end. No one would ever know when the crops would die and the world would grow cold. Therefore, Rana went to Sozho, since He was king, and asked Him to intercede.

Approximately on the same day, Nuvíní gave up trying to convince Vuzhí to bring Her life back to the world, and asked Sozho to make a judgment on Her behalf, as well. Since these two cases were so closely linked, Sozho considered the matters as one. In turn, He let Nuvíní, Pétíso, Korutuzho, Vuzhí, and Rana speak Their minds. He then flew away on His broomstick to deliberate in private. A fourday later, the King of the Gods made His pronouncement: Vuzhí would spend a third of the year with Nuvíní, a third of the year with Pétíso, and a third of the year as She desired; Korutuzho similarly would spend a third of the year with Rana, a third of the year as He desired, and a third with Vuzhí -- so long as it coincided with Her stay with Pétíso.

Vuzhí at once declared that She would split Her extra third evenly between Nuvíní and Pétíso. Korutuzho, on the other hand, announced that He would spend a full two-thirds of the year with His wife, Rana. Thus Vuzhí departs our world in late summer while Korutuzho remains till harvest time, and the first shoots of green in winter are brought forth by Korutuzho while Vuzhí waits slightly longer to make Her appearance.

As one would expect, nobody was happy at Sozho’s decision, and yet all abided by it. All the gods knew it was best for the universe. This way, the entire world knows when to collect food for the cold winter and when to plant crops anew. Every year in the last heat of summer, Korutuzho collapses dead while working, only to be reborn several months later, lifting the first green growths from the earth as He rises. Without the Father of the Gods, the crops would never grow and we would all perish. Do not take His beneficence for granted, however, or the Great Castrator will strike you down with the full force of His awesome wrath.

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