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Oliver D. Bernuetz's Stories

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Making Babies : a Balazaring Myth

n the days when the grass was greener, the hills were less steep and berries were on every bush our ancestors were strange creatures. They had two heads, four arms and four legs and two heads. The two heads of our ancestors were very happy to look longingly into each other’s eyes, in fact they spent all their time doing just this. So much staring did they do that they started to weaken from hunger as they were too busy gazing to do any grazing (back in those days our ancestors ate only plants just like every other animal did). Well, our ancestors got weaker and weaker and became less and less able to do anything (other than lie around muttering pitifully and looking yearningly into each other’s eyes) that the Creator was moved to do something. He came striding along with Squirrel the Trickster scurrying along beside him and looked down at our ancestors. “Look at them,” she told Squirrel, “Pathetic. I created them that way so they wouldn’t get lonely, not so they’d lie around moaning from hunger because their heads are too smitten with each other to eat. What should I do?” “Perhaps I can help them?” suggested Squirrel. Creator looked sideways at Squirrel with doubt in his face and said, “What mischief do you have in mind now Squirrel?” “Mischief? Me? Why, none. I just want to help these people Creator. I feel for their agony. Really I do.” Creator looked at Squirrel with doubt clearly written on her face and said, “Alright Squirrel. I will let you help my people but if you are trying to trick me...” “No tricks Creator, I will ensure that your people can feed themselves AND that they won’t be lonely.” Creator shook his head and strode off mumbling underneath her breath.

“Now,” said Squirrel, “I need to visit Stone Man.” Squirrel scampered off to find Stone Man. He found Stone Man walking back and forth, back and forth, back and forth carrying a strange metal object. “Greetings, Stone Man,” said Squirrel, “ I come to you from the Creator to ask a favour of you in his name.” Stone Man turned his blank gaze to Squirrel and stared coldly at him. “What favour do you ask of me in the Creator’s name Squirrel?” he said in his flat voice. Squirrel shivered inside and said, “I need to borrow one of your tools.” “I need all my tools for my work,” said Stone Man. “Oh don’t worry I won’t need it for long,” replied Squirrel. “All right which tool do you wish to borrow in the Creator’s name then?” “I believe you call it Axe,” said Squirrel. Stone Man put his metal object down and strolled off with jerky motions down into his burrow. After a long while he re-emerged with Ax in its hands. “Here you go Squirrel. I lend you my Ax as a favour to the Creator.” “You won’t regret it Stone Man, I promise you,” said Squirrel as he took Ax and slowly dragged it off. “I had better not,” said Stone Man in his flat, emotionless voice.

Squirrel took quite a while to get back to our ancestors with Ax and as he went along he scraped a deep furrow in the ground with Ax, cutting bushes and small trees down as he dragged it along. Dark Man saw him doing this and squinting and peering nearsightedly at Squirrel and shielding his eyes from the Sun came over. “Hello, friend Squirrel,” he boomed, “Where are you going and what is that you have in your hands?” Squirrel jumped straight up in the air as he hadn’t heard Dark Man come up. “Oh this old thing? It’s something I borrowed from Stone Man.” “May I see it?” asked Dark Man. “Well, I promised Stone Man I would get it right back to him,” started Squirrel but then he saw the anger growing in Dark Man’s eyes and he finished quickly,” but I’m sure Stone Man wouldn’t mind if you just looked at it.” Dark Man took Axe from Squirrel and easily swung it around his head. He turned and chopped a mighty tree down with a single blow. “I wouldn’t mind borrowing this to show Green Man if you don’t mind Friend Squirrel.” “Well, I did promised Stone Man I’d get it right back to him Friend Dark Man...” “Oh don’t worry about Stone Man Friend Squirrel I wouldn’t mind showing him a new way to use his tool too. Besides, there seems to be a weakness about this, what did you call it?” “Axe.” “Ah, yes as I was saying there seems to be a weakness about this Axe.” And saying so Dark Man swung it above his head and brought it smashing down with a mighty crash. Squirrel cowered until he realized that the Axe had hit a nearby mountain top flattening the mountain and splitting Axe into two!

Dark Man stooped and picked up both halves and handed one half to Squirrel. “Here,” he said, “Here’s Stone Man’s half. This is my half.” Having said this he turned and strode off to find Green Man and show him his new tool. Squirrel shook his head and started dragging Axe off to find our ancestors. Straining and groaning he dragged Axe along behind him knocking trees down and gouging the earth. Finally he came upon our ancestors lying about looking longingly into the eyes of their second head. "Greetings, oh people of the Creator," said Squirrel. No one answered or even looked at him. "Hello?" said Squirrel a little louder. No response. "HELLO!!!!", yelled Squirrel at the top of his voice. Finally this got a response. One head of a pair languidly turned to look at Squirrel and said dreamingly, "Hello Squirrel, how are you." Before Squirrel could reply the head heard its pair whimpering and turned quickly back to look into its eyes, murmuring softly to comfort it. "That tears it", said Squirrel, "I can't take any more of this nonsense." And saying this he took Axe and swinging it high above his head he brought it crashing down to cut the ancestor who had addressed him in half! Each half had one head, two arms, one body and two legs. The new pair of creatures screamed and howled in pain as their life's blood drained out. Squirrel was appalled by the results of his action but thinking quickly he snatched up a pine needle and some grass and sewed up their wounds. He tried to do a neat job but he had trouble gathering the material up so one of the pair was left with two bits sticking out up top and a hole in the bottom half and the other of the pair had nothing up top and a bit sticking out down below. The pair sat down and looked around dazedly at the world they had never given a second notice to before. They looked at each other and the world in terror and tried hard to stick themselves back together. They grappled for a while trying to force their bodies together and struggled in a frenzied manner for quite a while. This attempt seemed to have unexpected results and after a while the pair stopped what they doing and fell back with pleased and exhausted expressions on their faces. Squirrel was amazed and envious. "Huh, imagine that. They get to have fun by themselves, yet not by themselves. Now what about the rest of this sorry lot." Saying this Squirrel shouldered Axe and went to work with a gusto.

He chopped and he sewed, chopped and sewed, chopped and sewed. Every time he got slightly different results, bigger or littler bits sticking out front or down below. The results didn't seem to make any difference to our ancestors. Each pair who was formerly one tried to stick themselves back together and seemed to end up enjoying the act. Just to see what would happen Squirrel made some pairs the same. These pairs tried to stick themselves back together again too and had to resort to some very different ways to do acheive this. The end results were the same though, they were frantic at first and then excited and finally ended up exhausted. Squirrel was tired too and his poor paws were sore as sore could be from all that sewing. He didn't want to rest yet because there was another trick he wanted to try. He started collecting up one of each pair and went around mixing the pairs up. After he'd done this he lay down for a quick nap. When he woke up he saw that the ancestors were grappling again. It didn't seem to matter to most of them whether they were with their original half or not. Some of the ones he made the same though didn't seem to be too happy about being with halves that weren't the same shape as they were but others didn't seem to care. He noticed that some of them were looking around and selecting new halves for their pairings. "Suit yourselves", said Squirrel and went off to see what other mischief he could get up to with Axe.

The Creator came upon our ancestors and saw what Squirrel had done. At first she was furious enough to eat stone but eventually she realized that Squirrel had done our ancestors a favour. Creator smacked our ancestors around enough to get their attention and told them they would now have to act like all the other animals. He gave a present to our ancestors by letting them make little copies of themselves whenever they tried to stick themselves back together again. (This was supposed to make up for all the effort they were putting into sticking themselves back together again but the joke was on the Creator because the act was reward in of itself). Well our ancestors still wanted to stick themselves back together again but the fact that they were cold and hungry seemed more important to them now. They still spent a fair bit of time trying to stick themselves back together again (we still do) but they spent time finding food and shelter too. As for Squirrel, well Stone Man and Green Man were quite annoyed with him, Stone Man because he'd let Dark Man break his tool and Green Man for what Dark Man had done with his half of the broken tool. But of course Squirrel talked himself out of that trouble too! And ever since that day we Balazarings have been trying to find our lost halves and making more Balazarings who want to find their lost halves and so on and so on.

June 08, 1998

Last updated September 25, 2016

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