Grandfather, grandfather, tell me a story.
What story do you want, you wearisome sprog?
Tell me a tale from the beginning of time.
A very long time ago, the gods stepped out of a dark fold in the cloth of the world and saw that it was a good world, young and rich. They created the first people, who folded wrong and ate unceasingly, causing displeasure in their eyes. They cast their mistake to the bottom of the world, and then created man in the image of a servant, and for a time life was good.
That’s a baby story! I want excitement, you old fool.
Very well, brat, I will tell of the man.
There came of a time when man forgot his gifts and the gods were shut out of the world. These were dark times, when the tongue of the gods only survived due to a faithful few. It was from these faithful that came a man blessed, the hero Many-eye. He had not forgotten the words of the gods. Many-eye was a handsome man, with a body mottled by many beautiful eyes so that he had godsight. Some say he was half god himself, of the god who is key and gate in one.
Many-eye searched high and low for the books of men, the keys with which they’d locked the gods away. There came a day when he found the words of the gods, words so powerful no ordinary man could hold them in their head. Many-eye took their words and tore a hole in the sky with his tongue.
Now that is more like it grandfather!
Hush, child, before I take a stick to you.
And when the sky was opened, the men of short memory brought forth great seeds of fire that sprouted false suns and they brought forth sticks that spat hot metal, but the gods were far greater than any mortal weapon. They snuffed out the light of civilization like a stick of incense.
A stick that spits metal? What have you been smoking, you old fool?
I tell you the truth, child. Do you want to hear the story or the back of my hand?
Don’t vex me, or I will cast you down into the pits with the hounds of many angles.
Please, child, don’t speak such cruelty.
Oh quiet your weeping, you old woman. Continue with the story.
After man was brought to humility, the gods pulled themselves back into the world, and life was good again. There was the god that slept in the sea, the piper at the center of the universe, there was the black god of many faces, the mother of a thousand young…
I know of them grandfather, you speak of Shub—
Hush, child. It is not for you to speak their divine names.
The gods rewarded Many-eye with wives, and in time blessed him with legions of children. And so Many-eye became the first new man, and his children became great overseers of men.
Are all men his children grandfather? Even you and I?
No, child. There are still some today who hide from our people, who pull cloaks over their pale, unadorned skins and creep about in the daylight. They deny the gods their divinity and seek to restore the dark times.
They have no beautiful skins? No godsight?
No, they are ugly and pale as apes.
…What is an ape, grandfather?
Another time, child. Another story.