On Starlight and Fire
The tribe that Herald was part of was not the one he was born into. That tribe had long ago been scattered by the violence of nature and other tribes. Herald’s birth-tribe was once strong and many. They traveled through various and divergent regions. Whether it be woods or desert, coast or mountain-top, Herald’s birth-tribe not only survived, they flourished.
It wasn’t that in those early days, there was no violence of nature and of other tribes, quite the opposite. But Herald’s birth-tribe survived because they were strong and many; and instead of attacking any tribe or person they came across, they shared what they had.
There were times that they were attacked, and nature spit down raging waters or burning liquid rock, or white-blue bolts of fire that killed many strong women and men. In time, Herald’s birth-tribe were no longer strong and many. In time, other tribes fell upon them in the night and kidnapped one or two. Other tribes had names for Herald’s birth-tribe; some called them the Teachers, some called them Heroes. Still others called them, Those Who Know. For it was rumored wide and beyond that men and women of the tribe knew the secret of starlight and the making of fire that warmed and helped nourish them.
The rumors were true.
A tribe looking for secrets and the making of fire kidnapped Herald one such night; but he was not yet a man and had not yet been taught the secret of starlight or the making of fire.
He knew how to collect fire and carry it. But the secret of making fire was more than three suns away when Herald was kidnapped.
The tribe kept him for a few suns because he was big and hunted well, he knew how to collect fire from the burning liquid rock and from the woods set ablaze from the white-blue bolts of fire. But in time the tribe acknowledged their mistake and realized that Herald had been too young to know the secrets.
When the tribe banished him, Herald saw it as freedom. It was not the nature of Herald’s birth-tribe to be held against their will. So Herald happily left the tribe behind and was free to roam.
He met many women and many men as he traveled, who seemed to know the secrets, yet had not been part of his birth-tribe. They proved to be generous and soon he learned that they had been visited by Herald’s birth-tribe many suns ago.
They encouraged and nourished him, but the secret of starlight and the making of fire was not divulged to him until one night, as he sat with a woman a few suns older than him, his fire went out. Rather than search for fire and collecting it, she taught him the secret of starlight and the making of fire. She liked his humor and they hunted well together, but after a sun and several moons had elapsed, she reminded him of his birth-tribe’s legacy. He was now truly one of Those Who Know. She reminded him how the Teachers were also the Heroes, of how they wandered wide and beyond sharing what they had; encouraging it in others through their generosity.
The tribe that Herald was currently with proved to be more established in superstitions than tribes previous. Herald felt frustrated in their unwillingness for his help. Though they looked strong and many, they were not anything like Herald’s birth-tribe.
They had their own secrets, but not of starlight. They didn’t make fire, they collected it and a strong ritual had arisen out of that. They shared, but not as part of their nature. Their tendency was to horde what they had. Herald understood upon the first meeting, that what they knew was enough for them. But Herald knew, that what one knows is never enough; yet everything can be reasoned out and discovered in time.
That is the secret of starlight. That is also the secret of making fire.
Herald had also learned another secret he simply called, the secret; one can find in every tribe Heroes who can also teach others to be Those Who Know.
Herald was sure he had many suns left to do so.
© 2006 by Justice Putnam
and Mechanisches-Strophe Verlagswesen