Tengri's Toes Myth in Irminsul | World Anvil
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Tengri's Toes

Tengri's Toes is a tale from the great steppes in the central continent. It is told to children who refuse to dress appropriately during the brutal winters the area experiences. Originating from the Blue Sky tribe of orcs, the tale has spread to anyone who calls the steppes their home.


As the world fully cooled after being shaped in Weyland's forge, it was night time. The following morning, on the first dawn, Tengri came into being, a great bird of infinite size whose wings enveloped the world in the endless sky, and it was good. But, night soon came again, and Tengri was cold. He did not understand how to burrow into the ground for warmth, nor could he find a blanket large enough to cover his huge wings, so he spent a very uncomfortable night shivering.   The next day, he was determined to find a way to warm up. He decided to ask the ground.   "How shall I keep warm when the sun goes away," Tengri asked.   "Dig a hole and put your feet in it. My dirt is cold, but it is much warmer than the snow," said the Earth kindly.   "I do not want to touch the ground, I am too large," said Tengri, unsure that he would be able to fly again if he landed upon the ground.   "Then you will suffer until you understand the wisdom of what I say," said the Earth, still kindly. She knew he would see reason eventually, and was content to wait.   So night came along, but this time it snowed. Tengri shivered harder than he had shivered the previous night. His feet started to hurt, but after a short time they stopped hurting. Tengri smiled to himself. "What does Earth know? I'll be fine. I am the great Tengri, and nothing can harm me for long!"   The next day, Tengri decided to go boast to Earth about his success. "I did not bury my feet into the ground, and yet they were fine! You know nothing of warmth," he said, prideful at his success.   Earth smiled a gentle smile. "They are fine, great Tengri, but they are no longer attached to you. How fine is that, really?"   Tengri laughed. "What do you mean, you silly person? My feet are right here." Tengri then waved his feet in front of Earth. To his surprise, nothing happened, nor did he feel anything. Alarmed, he tucked his long neck under his impossibly-wide body to see that his feet were entirely gone!   "I told you. You should have buried them in my dirt. You did not, and now your feet are gone forever, frozen off in the night. But look at it this way: now, you will never have to touch the ground, nor worry about not being able to take off," said Earth, with just a small bit of satisfaction.   Howling, Tengri soared higher into the sky, never to touch the ground again.

Historical Basis

The orcs and steppe races all see this story as factually correct, while the goblins have a different story for why the sky never touches the Earth. Curiously, the Rainlands have a very similar tale, despite developing entirely separately from the steppe orcs for millennia.


This story is well-known all across the steppes.

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