A SHORT STORY FOR CHILDREN ~ A FAIRY STORY FOR ADULTS
by Beth Pitts, Ecuador
As the firelight flickered, the children gathered around the old woman and she asked them which story they would like to hear tonight. “Tell us the one about the great awakening,” they pleaded. It was their favourite story, they knew it well, but still they loved to hear her tell it.
She got up, put another log on the fire and began, looking around at their upturned faces. “A long time ago, your ancestors had become lost. They had lost their connection with nature, with each other, had forgotten the old ways. A sickness had taken hold of them, causing them to destroy the Earth in pursuit of something called ‘money’. In their madness, they burned forests, levelled mountains, polluted rivers and engaged in endless wars.
The Great Spirit had a special place in her heart for humankind. Their existence had been the result of an inspired and daring experiment. She had thought long and hard before creating a kind of monkey with an awareness of its own mortality and the capacity to understand it. She had watched with joy as they created beautiful art and music, but with great anguish as they destroyed the paradise she had so lovingly created. She kept hoping they would wake up to their folly and see the error of their ways.
When they did not, she sent storms and natural disasters to remind humanity that their power was nothing compared to hers. She watched in growing despair as these warnings went unheeded. When the humans burned a billion forest animals in a place they called ‘Australia’, the Great Spirit knew she must take more drastic action.
She decided to send all of humanity to its room to think about what it had done.
Reaching into the stars, these very same constellations that you see twinkling above us, she shook loose a little stardust and held it in her closed fist, muttering a short spell. With a heavy heart, she sprinkled it over the Earth, especially those places that were most afflicted with the money madness.
As humans started to breathe in the stardust, millions became sick and many died. It was a time of great suffering. But, as they were forced to stop destroying the Earth, to stop consuming, to simply stop, they began to recover from the money madness. They realised what was really important: time with loved ones, clean water, nourishing food. The humans watched with joy as nature recovered. This is how they finally learned to live in harmony with the web of life.”
As the old woman finished the story, she saw that the children were already asleep. Closing the door gently, she climbed on to her solar-powered hoverboard and glided silently into the night.