A long time ago, o, best beloved. Long before the trees and animals, the birds and fish. Long before even this world in all it’s wonderful beauty even existed there existed a time. It was, and always will be called, the time of the silent, sacred dance. Now you might wonder how if there was nothing that we know today what could possibly dance either sacredly or silently, and you would be right in one sense, but o, so very wrong in a more important one. The truth is that even though the fishes and birds, the animals and trees did not exist, long before this world even existed. Before all other things Father Sun, alone and sleeping. His, it was, that we call the sacred dance.
His dance was silent because music had not yet come into being. Only the slow and steady drumbeat of his heart filled the void and Father Sun spun to the rhythm of himself. As he spun he found himself drowsy and dreams slowly began to fill him. The more the dreams filled him the more they sought to be outside him and like golden threads they fluttered from his body out into the darkness of the what would be.
Father Sun dreamed of many things. He dreamed of points of light and large bodies of ice and rock that danced around him, far off, yet part of him. He dreamed of beings made of stone, beings dressed in green with flowers decorating their hair. As his dreams continued he saw beings that walked on four legs or flew with no support above the earth. Some he dreamed of swam or slithered because they had no legs. Others still, made themselves homes from the tree beings and rock beings. All the time that Father Sun danced the dreams sought to leave him and as he spun their golden threads became longer and longer reaching further and further out deep into the void.
There was, however, one dream that troubled Father Sun and it caused him to stumble as he danced his spinning dance. Though only tiny and fleeting it returned each time he finished his circular dance and began to turn again. It was a darkness, an unknowing, a not seeing sort of dream and it brought with it a new sensation, one of fear. Unlike the other dreams which were golden this one was white. Each time he began to turn again it grew faster and longer than the others until Father Sun could bear it no more and tore at it. As he ripped it from him Grandfather Sun opened his eyes for the first time to see the white dream flutter and spin off into the dark.
No good came from his removing the dream. As soon as Father Sun closed his eyes to dream of the beings he had grown to love he was forced to cry out in his dream dance. Each time he turned a fear of something coming towards him dimmed the other dreams beauty. Where once there was a joy in his dreaming and a marvelling at the things he saw, now there was a fear that his dreams were merely that, things that would never seem form.
Slowly all of his dreams began to falter. No longer were their threads like golden hairs flowing from his body into the void. They began to pale until they began yellow and sickly and hung limp like dying grass. The more they faded the more Father Sun felt pain and called out in his slumbering dance. First the two legged beings faded then the four. The flying and the swimming things were no longer his to dream. The green clad beings with their perfumed, flowered hair dissolved from his memory until all he had left was the rock beings. As one being after another faded from his dreaming those final ones became the more precious and he pleaded to remember them as he danced. Finally they too were no more. Though the threads that marked their dreaming still clung to him they had faded until they resembled nothing more than smoke.
When the last golden thread had faded Father Sun’s heart felt as though it was about to break. His dance slowed, his heart became full of pain and sorrow, his eyes huge and bright now dimmed as they filled with tears. Sorrow had come into his dance and he could not deny it’s part in it. As the eons went on Father Sun’s dreams remained pale and sickly, but as time went on they also grew brittle. Each time he spun slowly he would hear the crackle of them crumbling away and fear grew and grew in his heart. Finally, o, best beloved, in a time we can not measure nor date, Father Sun ceased his spinning dance and hung there silent and pale.
How long he hung there barely breathing, pale and cold, we can never know but what he has told us is that it was a long, long, very long time. He hung there silently waiting, unable to tell what would happen or how long it would take. So he looked out into the void, a void so deep, and dark, and vast that he felt as if it would swallow him up and he would simply disappear. Finally Father Sun began to close his cold, black eyes.
As Father Sun’s top eyelashes began to brush his lower ones he was forced to open his eyes fast. Out in the depths of the void there was a movement. It quickly vanished and then disappeared again. This happened over and over until finally the dim shape of a thread could be seen, white and long, just like Father Sun had remembered it. Cursing he shouted to it to leave him alone. But like a snake it moved side to side until finally he was close enough to see it properly. Hanging in the void it brought one end round so that it pointed directly towards Father Sun.
It did not have a face. There were no eyes where eyes should be, only black and empty holes. There was no nose, no lips. Only the holes where those should be were there. It seemed to be looking very carefully at Father Sun. More frightened than annoyed Father Sun bellowed out at it to leave him alone, to face his oblivion without having to look at the thing that had brought fear into his existence. He called down curses onto it, swore, and gnashed his teeth at it, but the white thread only swayed gently back and forth keeping it’s face towards him. Finally when Father Sun had grown silent it began to whisper to him.
The thread’s voice wasn’t harsh or hard, o, best beloved. Instead it was like silk. The voice of the thread spoke tenderly to Father Sun urging him to understand that the thread was necessary; that it was needed as his first child of many. In response Father Sun sneered at the thread that he had no children, that he never would have, and that with him disappearing there would only be the thread left, until that too faded. The thread hung silently for a moment then asked one simple question.
“Do you want children?”
Father Sun was taken aback for the blink of an eye and then he exploded into curses and swearing more powerfully than he had before. “How?” He enquired with terse tones. How could he have children when he had no means to produce them? The thread bowed its head and quietly said.
“You already have one.”
Father Sun was too shocked, too confused by what the thread told him to speak. Guttural noises sounded in his throat, but he was beyond words and beyond reason. The thread came closer and began to wrap itself gently around Father Sun until it finally had almost completely enclosed him.
“I am your first child, Father Sun.” It said softly. “Before you can have all the children that you truly deserve I had to come into being. I am your first child, but no more valuable or important than any of the ones that we will create together, but it was essential that I should walk first.”
Father Sun whispered from the thread’s cocoon, “what are you?”
“I have no name. I am the beginning and the end of all things. I am your first child and I will be your last. I am needful, I am gentle, I am nothing yet; but I will become feared by my brothers and sisters. They will try to run from me but in their making I am with them all of their life. Haven’t you guessed my name? I am Death, father, and together we shall bring all of your dreams to life. Trust me. I will be gentle.”
Slowly Death tightened it’s grip on Father Sun squeezing him tighter and tighter. Although Father Sun was scared he felt no pain. As his son contracted pieces of him bulged through the gaps between the thread. “Must this be the way it is?” He whispered but his son didn’t speak. His was the pain and his the tears. Tighter and tighter, then tighter still, Death squeezed his father. The thread that was his body broke in places cutting away small pieces of Father Sun that drifted out into the void. Each piece that was cut from Father Sun had one of the golden threads attached but there, small and insignificant at the root was a tiny piece of Death.
Finally when every golden thread had been removed Death unwound what was left of himself and bowed to his father. Both Father Sun and Death were now much, much smaller and somehow Death had become reconnected to Father Sun’s body. Death kissed his father gently and affectionately saying, “we are done and now you must dance again.”
Father Sun began slowly to spin once more and as he turned he saw the golden threads become brighter as he too began to become bright again. Death settled like a belt around his waist and urged his father to dance faster and stronger. Some of the threads became the stars and planets, others became the moon and the comets. Gradually other threads settled on these new beings and formed themselves into four legs and two legs, rock beings and plant beings; and all of Father Sun’s children sang to him of the joy of living. Their Father sang back to them as he danced. He sang of his joy in them and of the wonder of life.
Only Death remained silent. His father did not notice, or did not care, that his first son did not sing with his brothers and sisters. Death was dreaming. He dreamed of a time when each of his brothers and sisters would die and the small pieces of him would be returned. Death dreamed of a time when he would grow long again and be forced to cut up his father again. After all it had happened many times before and he was the only one who ever remembered.