Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Insects

Once, in a far-away land, there were born the one thousand creature of the earth, the small things which wriggle and crawl; and they were born of Woman. And they turned to their mother and asked, "What will you have of us? - for we owe you a great debt."

And she was afraid, for she had not forseen this, and she told them, "Let thou go unto the lands beyond, and become great, and do good for the people there; for I am not of your kind, and may not be of your company." And the beetles and spiders and dragon-flies, all the creatures born then, agreed, and travelled to far lands.

And in their exile, they split into many groups; for they found that together they would starve, for their number was too great to support. And some of these groups became great, learning to climb, to fly, to build; and other helped Man, in ways subtle and overt, from fertilizing crops to killing deadly predators to providing sweet honeys for his consumption. But one group became curious; for they wondered, "Is not Man also of the kind of Woman - for if we ought associate with them, why ought we not associate with Woman?" And they slew a man, and took his skin, and travelled back to Woman.

Now, Woman was lonely, as was her lot in those days, and so she greeted their arrival with great joy. And she spoke with them, telling them one and a hundred things, and in her excitement she even told them of the birth of insectkind, saying, "Oh, I was afraid, for they were fearsome, and loathesome, and a dozen other noxious things besides! So I told them a lie and sent them away, for I greatly feared that they might remain ever with me otherwise."

And at this the insects were much enraged, and they did shed their skin, crying out, "Betrayer, betrayer, you have lied to us!"

Woman was afraid, and she cried out, "Spare me, do not kill me, your own mother, and I shall serve you for a year and a day!"

A year passed in this way, and Woman was glad, for her service was nearly over. But the insects conferred with each-other, saying, "Still I am wroth with her, though she has served us well and thinks she has more than apologized for her lie. Are there any that would not have us kill her when her service is done - thus earning pleasure when she would have no more to do with us?" All were agreed, and their plot was born.

But it was not to be, for in this time, a year and more past the birth of the insects, the others had grown curious as well, and returned, in a vast swarm, to the place of their birth. There they found their long-lost comrades - poised to strike - and heard their story. Then they cried out, saying, "No, she is our mother, and any anger we might bear her is long past!"

So they cast out the murders, for they worked the bane of Man and Woman alike, in the antithesis of nature. And so, alongside the honey-bee and lady-bug and silkworm which each serve us in their way, we have also the mosquito and wasp and cockroach, which plague us yet. And that is the story of the birth of the insects.