I had another story turn up – like buses really. So for want of anything better to do I though I would post it here. Without further ado I present:
Why things fall down, not up.
In the olden days in Heaven everything had its place, according to the will of the gods. And the same was true in the human world. Trees grew from earth to sky because the earth cherished their roots and the sun loved their branches. Water flowed from the mountains to the seas, because the rock adored the youthful rising spring and the sea drank down the old rivers, which were full of stories and history, to fill its huge emptiness.
There was, however, a problem with rainbows. Everything in Heaven and on earth longed to hold a rainbow. Rainbows are brightest when the sun and the rain both fight to hold them. As a result, rainbows were being waved about in a most dangerous fashion and the sun and the rain were in constant argument, producing an uncomfortably humid atmosphere in the home of the gods. The last straw came when Uncle Odin was prodded in the face by the sharpened end of a rainbow and lost the use of an eye.
The Mother of the gods decided she needed to have a family conference. Heaven existed in a state of chaotic balance, as the gods all competed to be the brightest and the best, but the constant rows were upsetting the equilibrium. The family was duly summoned to the breakfast table, where all the important decisions in Heaven were made.
Mother fixed her brood with a frown.
“This situation is unacceptable,” she announced. “We need to decide who will manage rainbows from now on. This squabbling has to stop.”
“They are patently the work of the sun,” said Dawn brightly, “which is my responsibility.” She folded her arms and sat back.
“I think the clue is in the name, actually,” said Storm. “Without my raindrops nothing happens. I’ll take it from here, sis.” And he sat back with a self-satisfied rumble.
Mother sighed heavily. “OK, two bids so far. Anyone else?”
Everyone raised a limb, or otherwise indicated a keen interest. Humans liked rainbows a great deal, and whoever was in charge would earn a great deal in ambrosia bonuses.
Mother raised an eyebrow. ”Well, this won’t do. I don’t have time to sit here listening to all your feeble arguments.” She sat quietly for a moment, thinking.
Everyone looked worried. Mother was always worrying when she was quiet.
“I think we’ll let the humans choose,” she announced after a significant pause. “By themselves,” she added before anyone could recover sufficiently to protest.
“I myself will interview some key humans and see which of you is best placed to meet the requirements of the position. And also to make sure no one cheats. I’ll be in touch. Meeting adjourned.”
Mother vanished on her quest, leaving her children dumbfounded. Given the number of human beliefs regarding rainbows, it looked like she wouldn’t be back for a while, so everyone felt it was time to start on the croissants and gossip.
Several days passed before Mother made her return and summoned everyone back to the table. She had a thick sheaf of notes as an aide-memoire.
“In summary,” she said, “there are quite a few views among humans as to the purpose of rainbows, most of which are quite positive. I was pleased to note that none of them were correct – it’s always good to keep some mysteries to ourselves!”
Everyone smiled and nodded. Mysteries were certainly no use if the humans worked them out.
“Apparently the rainbow may be a message from us to humans, promising not to flood the earth,” Mother continued. “Although why we would want to do that I can’t imagine. Or it might be a means of goddesses in bright frocks carrying messages…some humans get so muddled. One lot even think it’s a bridge up to Heaven for dead warriors – but they also seem to think that we will lose the battle at the end of the world, so we’ll not dwell on that too much!”
The children all chuckled, and Uncle Odin looked a bit embarrassed.
“On the other side of the world,” Mother continued, “humans seem to think that the rainbow is a serpent which created the world.”
There were a number of guffaws from the younger element among the gods at this point. Mother frowned.
“Don’t get too carried away,” she said sternly. “I also came across a very odd little man called Isaac who has found a way to make his own rainbows by slicing up sunlight.”
Dawn looked distressed. “He’s doing what?” she cried. “I can’t have that – my poor sun will end up a shadow of his former self!”
“Don’t worry dear,” Mother replied. “He can only make little ones and I don’t think people generally want little rainbows – they like them full-sized.”
The notion of humans creating their own rainbows had sobered the gods somewhat. After all, making rainbows might lead to making other things, like snowflakes and kittens, and then where would the world be?
“But finally,” Mother explained to the hushed family, “I’ve learned that humans believe rainbows are something to cherish and that their beauty illustrates hope after darkness and storms. “
“There is one of you I can think of best placed to care for something so precious…” she concluded.
Everyone held their breath in anticipation.
“…Pandora, dear, I have a little something for you to keep safe. But just to give you a hand, I picked up a useful trick from Isaac.” And she passed a heavy bag to the astonished Pandora.
“He calls it gravity – stick some on each end of your rainbows, dear. Else you’ll have someone’s eye out with them. And Uncle Odin can’t afford to lose another one.”
And Pandora did just that, but being a little clumsy by nature, she let quite a lot of the gravity get out and it has been troubling the world ever since.