The Wintersong of Tyrg
This is not a myth about the creation of the world, but about the preserving of it. In the ancient days, the sun shone upon the earth, and its brilliant rays carried nourishment and warmth and light, for all life comes from the sun. But some rays fell upon the earth and chose to leave the sun, and these became shadows, for what are shadows but the hungry ghosts of light? And these shadows resented what they had lost, and they sought to curse the gifts of the sun. They boiled the land and made the water acid. This is how the geysers and mudpots came to be. But they could not wholly pervert the gifts, and the ashes of the burnt earth enriched the land and made the crops to grow more abundantly, and the steam from the boiling water hung rainbows in all the skies. So the shadows were frustrated in their wish to do ill, and they conspired together. The gathering of all the shadows dimmed the sun’s rays, and the people of the earth feared the growing dark. The shadows, yearning for what they had spurned, made their pact and, when they had massed and their power was greatest, they seized and killed the sun. The world fell into darkness. With the sun, all the sun’s gifts also died—trees spread empty branches in vain, no light streamed down to end the night, no warmth lingered, no fires burned from wood once nourished with the sun’s rays. The shadows’ curses also failed—the ground did not boil, and no hot water threw steam and acid into the sky—for in the end the shadows had no power but what they had once reflected of the sun. For three nights, which were in darkness as one night, the people mourned the death of the sun and their own coming deaths. No sacrifice could wake the fallen sun; no wails could revive him. The shadows rejoiced in their triumph. But on the third morning, a dawn came, and in the east the people saw the first rays of the sun glittering through the steam where the earth boiled. Their fires kindled and burned; the trees grew thin needlelike leaves to brave the cold, light sparkled upon the snow which had blanketed the cold earth. And the people came together and sang to rejoice in the sun’s birth, and in the proof that he would not abandon his children to the hungry shadows of things which had been bright. For this reason, each year in the time known as the Plotting, as winter begins to steal what the sun gifted so lavishly in autumn, the people set lights in their homes to remember the sun’s eternal light presence. An on the night of greatest dark—for never will there be another death of the sun, whose triumph was complete—the people gather to look in expectant hope for those first rays of the dawn, thinking of the sun’s birth. And they gather where the earth boils to watch the dawn’s first light sparkle in the steam, to remember the shadows’ curses have no power of their own and the sun can always be seen through them. And the people sing together to share their joy. And this is the Wintersong of Tyrg.