Board :Tales of the People
Author :Archon Iyagi
Subject :"When the storm came" by Shawnee
Date :7/16
Far to the West, the ocean's waves crash against great cliffs with vigor, roaring Earth's power to all who listen.

Travel north along these cliffs and you will come to a series of great lakes, miles across, but unnaturally shaped; far too round to be made by Mother Nature herself. Great chasms are cut into the earth like scars, rending the rocky soil.

No Men live here. No villages or farms. But if you let the earth guide your feet, you may find the old Hermit. Living deep within the cliff face, in a cave secluded from the eyes of Man, he meditates.

The smoke from his cookfire might call to your hunger - or the sound of his song, echoing eerily against the walls of his cave. And you would seek him out as so few have before you - stumbling in the dark as you wind your way toward his humble home in the rear of this ancient cave.

Seated by the warmth of his fire, sipping a hot cup of tea, you
might ask him to tell you his story, and if he felt you worthy of the telling, he might take the time to share it with you.

"Deserted.... so quiet, but it was not always so."

<b>He sips his tea, gazing into a distant past which only he can
<b>see.

"There was a thriving mining community here - hundreds of men and women who mined ore from the earth. The picks and shovels digging in Mother Earth's skin itched, but she bore it. All was well; all was balanced... until one day the villagers found a small vein of Gold in the mountainside."

"Fever took over; fever for gold, for wealth. Picks and shovels could not pull the gold out of the earth fast enough, so men were sent to a nearby city to purchase explosive charges.
When they returned, the mining efforts were renewed in earnest. Explosives were placed deep in the earth, and the charges tore great holes in the flesh of our Earth Mother..."

<b>His voice choked with tears, he continues, not noticing as
<b>you silently re-fill his cup.

"Men behaved as if possessed, killing one another over a gold nugget while hoarding great piles of it at home under their floorboards, and still it was not  being mined fast enough to satiate their greed. Again, men were sent away, this time to bring back a mining expert with the explosives."

Tears flowing freely down his face, he stops a moment and sips his tea, regaining his voice.

"Strip-mining... What they did to our mother was horrific. Her skin was stripped from her body. Great holes were torn in her flesh to bring the gold out faster, ever faster. All wildlife fled the region, terrified by the horrible blasting sounds, the smoke, and the Men."

"The pain! The unbearable agony that she must have felt when they heartlessly cut, blasted, and stripped her skin."

<b>He is still weeping, but now his eyes take on a jubilant, <b>defiant glint. Pride shines in his eyes, and he sits up <b>straighter as he speaks.

"At last, it became too much. Awen took action. Mother Earth scratched her itch. Reaching the limit of what was tolerable, she removed the source of her pain!"

"A great silence overcame the villagers as the waves stopped. The men watched as the water receded; pulling back... back. They watched in confusion as the ocean shrank. When they realized why, it was already too late. The great wave which came flooded miles inland, filling the great mining pits and forming the lakes you see now. No men survived that great wave, yet Awen was not finished."

"The earth shook as a massive earthquake rippled across the surface of the land. Great chasms opened up, and the villages were destroyed, buried deep beneath rock and water along with the Men who had built them and the gold which had fueled their greed. The same earthquake which had started deep within the ocean and brought that great wave to shore, swept the folly of Man away."

"Mother calmed once more. She had found relief from her pain.
Once again one could hear Awen singing against the cliffs with the turning of the tides."

<b>Smiling, the old man sips his tea.... and speaks no more.


-Shawnee