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Gorpaura’s Curse

In the earlier days, when the stars looked at earth from another angle, and the world had seen only a few generations speaking the new language, three sons and three daughters were born to a married couple beloved by the immortals. As they grew older, the first son, a man of action, pledged to the immortals to fight for their cause, went to war and died abroad. So the second son, a man of reaction1, pledged to take vengeance, went abroad and died in war. Then the third son, a man of calm, pledged to find both their corpses and bring them home so their souls could find rest, went abroad and did not return.

The couple became old and could not have any more children and so raised the daughters carefully not to lose them. They also turned away from the immortals and so by the time the last daughter reached adulthood, she held distrust for them in her heart. Both her sisters did not strive to have children. The first was a great artist in all things perceivable by the eye. She would leave her paintings and sculptures to the world and be satisfied with her legacy. The second was a great artist in all things perceivable by the ear. She would leave her songs and words to the world. She would find singers who would learn her works and be satisfied with her legacy. The third daughter was a great artist in all perceived by touch. Her hands felt like ointment and her skin was soft as silk is. Hers was the most ephemeral craft lasting only for the moment in which it was created. Also, her doings were not simply teachable to someone who could pass them on, as they heavily relied on her own soft skin to bring alive the sensation. So more than her sisters she longed to bear another fruit. She needed to pass on her wonderful skin and hands. This woman’s name was Gorpaura.

She found herself a loving husband and the years passed but her womb stayed as flat as it had ever been. They tried all means known at the time but had no success. One day Gorpaura secretly lay by another man, so strong was her wish. When she still could not become pregnant she became angry with the immortals, blaming them for making her infertile. Gorpaura was devastated and great was her jealousy towards her sisters. Both tried to calm her when she, at last, cried out to the immortals directly. So she was brought before their council and with a fierce glance and her voice trembling by anger she asked what she had done against them to receive such punishment. But the council, in turn, answered with questions.
“Do you not distrust us?”, they asked. Shivering from head to toe she answered: “I do and rightly so.”
“Have you not betrayed your loving husband to deceive us?”, they asked. Barely able to speak through the shaking lips she answered: “I have and why could you not let me have a child from him? Both my sisters pass on their gems and glory but I cannot and what defines me will be lost upon my death. Even worse, my brothers are dead or lost and my family will vanish forever once I am gone. Please let me not be the last of my lineage!”
But the immortal council’s answer did nothing to calm her as it finally revealed the judgement she had received long ago. She stood accused of wanting a child for the wrong reasons and was deemed unsuited to be a mother. Hence they had taken her fertility. Gorpaura fell to her knees pleading and promising she would prove them wrong if only they allowed her to have a child. And as she touched their feet with her miraculous fingers and kept pleading, they gave her a task to prove them wrong. Gorpaura was told to gather folk from her home town and build a ship on the shore. She had to sail to another island and settle there, carefully raising a colony as if it were her own child. If she succeeded she would be allowed a child. If she failed she would end her lineage and also plant the eventual doom of her colony. When Gorpaura accepted and promised to succeed they asked her what the name of her child should be. “Gora, when a boy, and Lauria, when a girl!”, she said.
“Then go and do as you’ve been told. Set sail and when you reach the first island, name it Gora. Leave half your folk there under your husband’s administration and sail on until you find a second island. Name it Lauria. Now go and our eyes shall follow you.”

  So Gorpaura gathered folk from her home town, went to the shore, built a ship and set sails. She named the first island she found Gora, leaving half her folk there with her husband and sailed on until she found a second island. She named it Lauria and with hard work filling every day she built a flourishing settlement. The folk was uneducated and needed to be taught every task at hand. Gorpaura had to do all major tasks herself while still teaching the people she had brought with her. Soon she missed her husband but stayed strong and would not leave the settlement just like a good mother. After the first year, she desperately needed some time to relax but stayed strong not leaving the Laurians alone. When five years had passed and her settlement had become a small colony, Gorpaura began to wonder when the immortals would regard her task as fulfilled and how she could receive a child, with her husband living on another island. Distrust arose again in her and she secretly accused the immortal council to only have given her the task to widen its geopolitical influence. With the council too far away to reach, she concluded the only way to find out whether they had given back her fertility was a test. Unfortunately, the man with whom she had secretly shared a bed before pined for her touch and could not have been held back from joining the journey although he had a family. His name was Marr. His wife and children had come with him but as he sensed Gorpaura’s growing desperation, he made a move. Gorpaura, however, was determined to not become unfaithful again and rejected him many times, first gently, then curtly and later even invectively before he finally gave in and made no more approaches.

  When seven years had passed since her landing, Gorpaura feared to become too old for pregnancy and decided to act. She sent a messenger to the island of Gora with her ship to bring back her husband. Two months later the ship returned with him and it did not take long until her monthly bleeding stopped. Filled with overwhelming joy both cheered when Gorpaura gave birth to twins, a boy whom they named Gora and a girl whom they named Lauria. Such bliss and felicity was too much for Marr, the rejected, to behold. He had been torn between the insuperable longing and his own family for too many years ever since the night he had spent with Gorpaura. Now that he witnessed another man receiving her gift daily, he became stunted by jealousy and feelings of guilt. It became imminent to his wife that something was very wrong and as he wouldn’t tell her she started investigations. Thereby she soon discovered stories of his approaches towards Gorpaura and confronted him. But Marr did not know how to defend himself and so she turfed him with great fury. Realising what he had lost in his family he turned to the only one who was not allowed to refuse council, the one who had sworn to treat the colony as her child. So Gorpaura listened to him patiently. However, she could offer neither help nor solution but apologized for the mistake she had made so many years ago when she had seduced him. Marr seemed calm when he left but after a while began to hold her to ransom, threatening to inform her husband of her deed. To buy his silence he urged her to lie by his side again as his thoughts had become confused by the lonely life of an outcast. But Gorpaura refused and so he went on to tell everyone he met about her unfaithfulness. How bitterly disappointed was he to find, that her husband did not believe what Marr and Gorpaura alone knew to be true. Her husband was very happy and did not even consider asking her about it.

  Marr was struck by grey tears mourning over the ruins of his life. No one talked to him any more and he could not leave the island on his own. Marr was captured in isolation and left alone with his marred thoughts as his only company. He came to regard a skin so soft and a touch so heartwarming as a curse best obliterated and therefore bought a poison from a spirit he met in the swamps. Secretly he snuck into the kitchen and stirred it into a meal prepared for Gorpaura. After she had eaten she felt tired and sick but little Lauria was hungry so she gave her some milk before lying down. Soon the baby began to faintly cry and both a numb and a burning sensation occurred in the mothers body. Then she heard Marr’s voice talking to someone he had accidentally encountered leaving the kitchen. She hoped she could send him to find help and called to him. But when he entered the room and his gaze fell upon her, she suddenly realised the inevitable end ahead. The broken man stood in the door, bewildered by the sight of a mother with her baby in her arms, both fading slowly. As Lauria drew her last breaths, Gorpaura let her feel all the bliss of her loving embrace for one last time. When the child moved no more she pressed it against her chest and fading herself whispered the curse that would strike the fallen man who still stood in the door, petrified in evil amazement. And through the curse she brought an eternal punishment upon him, much worse compared to all he had felt in his crooked life. Him and all who poison a child through its mothers milk she bound to the realm of everlasting guilt. A land where self hatred withered the heart to a tiny stone and eyes could not stand to behold the light of day, so the ashamed body had to bury itself in the soil. She bound him and all who dare to poison a child through its mothers milk to be unworthy of eating anything but sand and drinking anything but tar pitch for all eternity, not daring to ask anyone for pity. Such curse she spoke and such is his fate to this day.2

    1 Despite sounding odd in translation, this phrase best depicts the original text.
2 With Gora having survived but the island of Lauria later being destroyed anyway (see Of Melle and Mellya ), it is still debated if the immortals all agreed on whether Gorpaura had fulfilled her task or not.

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