Grandmother moved slowly through the thicket. She used her walking stick to push aside the itching needles, admiring the new design Rono, her grandson, had carved on it. Blackthorn, strong, just what is needed for Grandmother. The design was the Two Moons as they met for their embrace. He is so creative Grandmother thought fondly.
Grandmother looked up into the sky to see the Two Moons in the daylight sky.
Spying a deep purple color, Grandmother pushed on and came upon a bush laden with plump ripe blueberries. She picked a berry and put it in her mouth. Her eyes closed as she gnawed the berry, relishing its sweetness. She smiled a toothless smile. She opened her leather sack and started picking the berries.
There was a ruckus behind Grandmother, and two beings crashed through the underbrush. Unafraid, Grandmother didn’t even bother to turn. She knew those sounds.
“Come! Help me with this bush.”
Two children, almost at the cusp of adulthood, joined Grandmother at the bush to pick berries. Grandmother smiled at them fondly. Twins. Born at the same time! Rono, the boy and Rela, the girl. Their likenesses eerily similar. At least there was one of each, thought Grandmother, identical twins make people nervous. As if they could ever be evil. She shook her head.
Rela turned to Grandmother and asked, “Tell us again, the story of the Two Moons.”
Grandmother chuckled, “You have heard the story many times, Rela. Maybe it’s time for you to tell the story to me.”
“Please?” begged Rela.
Grandmother kissed Rela on the forehead. She is so curious, she thought.
“If you continue to pick berries, I will tell you the story.”
Both children turned to the berries with anticipation.
“Once upon a time, there was only the Sun and the Moon.”
“Only one moon?” asked Rela.
“One moon. And I’m telling the story.”
“I’m sorry, Grandmother.”
“There was only one moon, and she was lonely. She was only a bit older than you are now Rela, but she was already a woman. As a woman, she dreamed of her mate. As she grew, she noticed that sometimes she was not alone, that there was someone else there. She caught glimpses of him. He was so bright and warm, and she loved him immediately.”
“That was the Sun, wasn’t it Grandmother?”
“Yes, it was the Sun. She took him on a merry ride. He chased her for thousands of years. He would get so close he could almost touch her and then she would pull away again.
One day, they finally came together, as men and women do. She had her mate! And her joy was complete when she gave birth to her only child. The Child Moon.”
All three looked up at the Two Moons.
“The Sun could not stay. He had to hunt and to protect. So off he went again, only coming home occasionally.
The Child Moon grew up and eventually left the Moons side, as children do, and became a Moon in herself. Once a month the Child Moon comes home to visit her mother. She’s a good child.
And once every few years, the Sun comes home at the same time as the Child Moon, and they are a family again. That is what is happening now, children.”
They looked at the Two Moons again and then the Sun. The children had been too young to see the last one, but Grandmother had seen many.
“We need to go home now and get ready for the festival. The Sun will reach home soon.”
As they walked home, Rono turned to Grandmother and asked, “Are there people on the Child Moon?”
“Where did you hear that?”
“We snuck out to listen to the stranger, the storyteller, last night.”
“Those stories are not for you, child.”
“He said that a long time ago, there were so many people that we couldn’t fit on Mother Earth anymore. That there were so many of us that there was no place for any animals or any plants anymore. That people were starving. He said they found a way to create a new moon and now they’re living up there, right now!”
“Is that right, Grandmother?” asked Rela.
“Bah! Such nonsense! Such a thing could never happen!”
“But Grandmother! The storyteller seemed so sure!”
“Storytellers often make up stories. Sometimes they make up stories to scare us or make us laugh. And sometimes they make up stories to remind of us to be grateful for what we have. I think you should take that tale as a warning. You have everything you need right here.”
“Hush Grandson. Storytellers are slippery. They slink in the grass like snakes. If they really had destroyed Mother Earth, would we be here now?”
They hurried back to the group to help with the preparations for the festival.
The children sat close together, watching the Sun make his slow way to his family.
“I wonder what it would be like to live up there, on the Child Moon,” said Rela, the curious one, “What do they hunt? Are there berries? Are they looking at us? Are there too many people up there, like there were here?”
“I wonder how they got up there. How could they have created the Child Moon,” said Rono, the creative one, “It’s a long way up.”
“If there were that many people, they must have all been different from each other,” said Rela, “the people four days from here are very strange. If they’re strange, maybe all those other people are strange too! Maybe they have different color hair, or no nose.”
“And if they are all different, they must have things we’ve never seen, things we can trade for. I can carve. I can trade.”
They sighed and watched the Sun get ever closer.
Rela turned to Rono, “That storyteller said so many things. People living in caves that were taller than some mountains.”
“People controlling the animals and not needing to hunt! Even riding on their backs!”
“People flying through the air!”
“Yeah,” said Rela, “I want to know, Rono. I want to know the truth. I want to see the caves, I want to ride the saber tiger, I want to see what’s on the Child Moon.”
“And I want to help you get there, Rela.”
“Grandmother says the storyteller is giving us a warning. That we should just be grateful for what we have. That this is paradise.”
“Grandmother is very old, Rela. Maybe she doesn’t know everything.”
“Maybe. I hope you’re right. I really want to go.”
“Me too. And that storyteller was probably making it worse than it was. We’re too smart to let it happen like that.”
“Yes, we are.”
They both looked up as the Sun met the Two Moons.
“After all, how bad could it be?”