Daily Short Fiction: 100 of 365- The First 40 Short Stories

This is an entry into my daily writing adventure. To read from the beginning, you need to go to the bottom and read upwards.

Here are the Rules:

  1. I must write 365 words (or more) a day. Practice makes perfect!
    1. NOTE: I have permission to write less than 365 words a day if I finish a story in less than 365.
  2. No editing any of these short stories until the year is over- and this includes simple stuff like spelling mistakes. It’s okay to write bad stuff!
  3. I must publish everything I write for this project, and I cannot take it down afterward.

Do not copy, repost or claim ownership of any section of these stories.


Day 100 – Sunday May 23 2021

NOTE: No update today, or for the next week. I’ve been typing for 100 days now, and want a break. Starting June 1, I’ll start typing again.

Note: IOU 1 additional story.


Day 99 – Saturday May 22 2021

NOTE: IOU 1 additional story

Seen in a Mirror

An artist, a physicist and a Zen Archdruid walked into a bar. The three of them looked into the mirror behind the bar, and asked one another what they saw.

“I see a reflection of myself, but in reverse,” the artist said. “I could paint a portrait of myself here and now using that reflection. I would paint the greatest masterpiece of my career, inspired by the reverse-truth of that image.”

“I see the layer of silver film, behind the layer of glass, which has been polished to a reflective sheen,” the physicist said. “I don’t see myself; instead I see a reflection of a reflection of the light bouncing off my skin, filtered through the medium of the atmosphere.”

“I see an echo of The Godhead in the mirror,” the Zen Archdruid answered. “The Divine Truth inhabits everything and everyone, including mirrors and people and reflections. I can no more claim to seeing myself in the mirror than I can claim to be seeing God.”

“And I see three patrons who want a drink,” the bartender said. “What are you having?”

The three patrons ordered their drinks and went on with their evening.


Day 98 – Friday May 21 2021

NOTE: I still owe you 1 story.

Sights Unseen

A master of Zen Druidism was uprooting every plant in his garden, when his apprentice visited him.

“What are you doing?!” The apprentice said. “Those flowers you’re killing are beautiful!”

“What makes you call them beautiful?” His master in Zen Druidism asked.

“Their flowers are bright and huge, and of a hundred different species. They were such loud colors that not even a blind man couldn’t miss them,” the apprentice answered.

“Look more closely,” the master Druid said, digging up one of the flowers. “See these snarled roots? Can you smell the scent of decay? Just because something seems beautiful doesn’t mean it’s healthy. If you see only the surface level of things, you will fail to spot the flaws which lurk under the surface. If I do not pull these diseased plants, they would corrupt the healthy ones next to them.”

“But what of those flowers?” The apprentice asked, pointing to a pile of up-dug healthy flowers. “Those plants are healthy, and still you dug them up!”

“Those flowers are weeds. Their blooms are indeed beautiful, but they choke out the other plants they are planted with. When eaten, they poison. And their roots dig so deep they are difficult to permanently remove,” the master answered. “Do you understand the lesson I’m trying to teach you?”

“As you cultivate your garden, you must cultivate yourself,” the apprentice answered.


Day 97 – Thursday May 20 2021

NOTE: IOU 1 full story for missing yesterday.

NOTE2: On Day 100, I’m going to take a week off.

The Divine Truth

In the beginning, there was nothing. From nothing, The Divine Truth created itself. From The Divine Truth, all things originated. So spoke the ancient mystic who communed with sea and sky.

“What is The Divine Truth?” The mystic’s student asked.

“The Divine Truth is the greatest of all gods. It is the divine principle which created the universe from it’s own essence, and in that act of creation it in no way became any less than it already was,” the teacher answered. “The Divine Truth is the singularity of being, and the completeness of consciousness. The Divine Truth exists, and does not exist.”

“What does any of that mean?” The student wailed. “How can a god not exist, which is also the greatest of all gods?”

“I can’t answer that question,” the mystic answered. “That question you can only answer for yourself.”


Day 96 – Wednesday May 19 2021

No update today. Got too busy writing/editing my book. On the bright side what I wrote today wound up being a wonderful chapter.


Day 95 – Tuesday May 18 2021

Note: Today’s story is inspired by the tale of narcissus.

The Mirror of Peacocks

Once upon a time there was a very beautiful woman who lived in solitude. All who looked upon her, fell madly in love, but such was her independent streak that she could not return their love.

One day, The King of Storms heard news of the young mortal’s beauty, and he set out to discover for himself if she was as beautiful as tales told. He changed himself to look like a mortal, and went to visit the lovely lady. The King of Storms was a man who could take a hundred lovers and still not be sated; it was no surprise that he began lusting after the mortal’s beauty.

“Young miss,” the hidden god said, approaching the woman. “You are the loveliest flower I have ever seen. I would love to add you to my collection of flowers.”

“Disguising!” The mortal sneered. “I’ve heard barnyard swine with better manners than you! Get gone from my sight!”

Banished and enraged, the god desired revenge. But such was his infatuation for the woman that he refused to smite her. Instead he turned to his cousin The Trickster for aid.

“I love her, and want to love her,” The King explained. “How can I be with her?”

“Take this mirror and give it to her,” The Trickster said, handing over a mirror who’s sides were gilded with stylized peacocks. “When she looks in it, she will feel your love too.”

“Thank you!” The King said, and took the mirror. He returned to the mortal woman, and gave her the charmed mirror. “My dear, take this blessed gift, and with it know my love.”

The beautiful woman looked into the mirror, and couldn’t look away.

“Do you love me now?” The King asked. He got no response; he’d thought The Trickster’s gift would make her love him. Instead she became just as infatuated with herself as The King was for her. Such was her bespelled vanity that she was unable to look away from the mirror.

The mortal died shortly thereafter, refusing to look away from the image in the mirror for long enough to eat or sleep. In his grief, The King turned her body into an orchid, so he may ever after gaze upon her beauty.

“Trickster!” The King of Storms screamed, rushing to punish the god’s prank. “I loved that woman! I will have your blood!”

The King didn’t find The Trickster, for he hid himself. Eventually, such was The King’s fecklessness, The King fell in love with another woman and forgot about the prank.

The moral of the story is to love a person for more than just their external beauty- and to not trust gifts given by known mischief makers.


Day 94 – Monday May 17 2021

An Impossible Task

Once upon a time, the Queen of the Desert had an unpleasantly unctuous suitor.

“My lady, I love you! I’ll do anything for you!” The perfumed suitor begged. “Please take my hand in marriage!”

“Never!” The Queen said irritably. “Can’t you see I’m busy being a queen here? I don’t have time for marriage!”

“I refuse to leave until you marry me!” The suitor insisted.

“Fine. Take this cup and travel to The Fountain of Youth. Fill the cup with water, and return to me. When I drink the water, I will marry you,” the Queen promised, giving the suitor a cup.

“Anything for you!” The suitor said, and left.

It took the suitor a year and a day to find The Fountain of Youth. He filled the glass with water, and returned to the home of his lady.

When the suitor arrived back in the palace of his lady, he left the glass of water out in the summer sun. In that light, the water in the cup boiled away to nothing when he wasn’t watching.

“My lady! I brought you your water, but it’s gone!” The suitor fretted. “Will you not forgive me?”

“No, because I still don’t want to marry you,” she said as she filled out tax documents. “Can’t you see I’m busy here? Go away.”

The suitor left again. He travelled for a year and a day to return to The Fountain of Youth and fill the glass with water from the spring. Glass in hand, he returned to the home of his lady.

“A ha!” The suitor said triumphantly, presenting the glass to the Queen. “Drink!”

The Queen accepted the cup, and dropped it.

“Oops,” the Queen said, sounding not in the least repentant. “Oh well. I guess we can’t get married. You might as well go back to The Fountain and get me another drink.”

By now the suitor was despondent. He realized that nothing he could do would please the lady. He left indeed.

The heart loves what it loves- and doesn’t love what it doesn’t love. The suitor would have been better off from the beginning to never accept the impossible quest in the first place.


Day 93 – Sunday May 16 2021

The Snake, or the Rope?

Many years ago, The Trickster was having fun. He disguised himself as a mortal. He would go from town to town, pulling pranks on people. Well one day, he was welcomed into the home of a warrior.

“Oh glorious host, is it true you are a warrior?” The Trickster asked.

“I am the bravest warrior in the world!” The warrior bragged as he wove fishing nets from rope. “I have taken the heads of more men than anyone else in the world!”

“Is that so?” The Trickster said, smiling. He pulled a bag of gold from underneath his shirt. “I’ll make you a deal: I am going to do my best to scare you. If I succeed, you must live with the shame of it. If I fail, I’ll give you this wealth. How does that sound to you?”

“It sounds great to me!” The warrior gloated. He already was thinking of what he’d spend that money on.

So The Trickster got to work. He went to the docks, and got a canvas sail. He went to the fish market, and got a bucket of fish intestines. He went to the chandler, and bought a handful of candles. And finally, he went to the old tinker and bought some old pots and pans. The Trickster took all his tools, and created a theater.

“Sit here,” The Trickster demanded of the warrior, having him sit in the center of the theater. “I am going to summon the god of snakes.”

“I am not afraid,” the warrior said confidently.

The Trickster raised the canvas sail, so The Trickster was hidden behind it.

He then lit his ordinary candles, so they cast spooky light over the theater.

The god cast the guts of the fish into the flame, so they produced a foul perfume.

And finally, The Trickster banged the old pots and pans, to create a terrible racket.

“Oh great god of snakes! I summon you!” The Trickster called, banging his pots. “I summon you! I summon you!”

“WHO DARES SUMMON ME?” The Trickster shouted, using his divine voice. The warrior didn’t know it was The Trickster who spoke, for the god was hidden behind the canvas sheet.

“It is I, oh great lord!” The Trickster shouted, banging his pots and pans. “This warrior here thinks himself brave! He thinks he is fearless! He isn’t afraid, even of you!”

“WHAT TERRIBLE HUBRIS!” The Trickster shouted, using his godly voice. “I SHALL SLAY THAT FOOL!”

“I am not afraid!” The warrior claimed. Despite his claim, by this point the warrior was unnerved by the proceedings. He smelled the foul perfume, heard the terrible racket of the pots, and feared the dancing shadows cast by the candles. He thought himself witness to a terrible summoning.

“NOW YOU DIE!” The Trickster screamed, and threw the warrior’s own rope net at the warrior. “THE SNAKES ENTANGLE YOU!”

The warrior screamed in terror and ran away. He was so scared, that in the dark he couldn’t tell the difference between a rope and a snake.


Day 92 – Saturday May 15 2021

A Tree’s Duty

There was once an small, dying village. When it’s people were starving, they turned to the gods for aid.

“Plant this seed,” the gods urged. “And all your problems will be solved.”

The village elder took the seed provided by the gods and planted it. From that olive pit grew an olive tree. It’s branches were heavy with flowers. In mere minutes those blooms turned into olives.

“We’re saved!” The village elder said, and began harvesting the food.

Years passed, and the seasons of human generations passed. One elder was replaced with another.

The village grew larger, and old problems were replaced with new ones. During the village’s lengthening nights, and the people didn’t have any light to read by. The people prayed to the gods for aid. The gods didn’t answer; instead, the spirit of the tree did.

“Turn my olives into oil, and see by the light of it’s burning.”

The new village elder took the olives of the great tree and created oil enough for all the lamps in the city.

Years passed, and the seasons of human generations passed. One elder was replaced with another.

The village grew large, and old problems were replaced with new ones.

Winter had come, and the village was growing cold. Without aid, people would freeze to death. The people prayed to the gods for aid. The gods didn’t answer; instead, the spirit of the tree did.

“Chop me down and use my wood for firewood,” the selfless tree offered. “Plant the seeds of my children, and in years to come, my bloodline will sustain you.”

And so the tree died, and was used to sustain the village. As one tree dies, a thousand were planted to replace her.


Day 91 – Friday May 14 2021

A Cat’s Cradle

Once upon a time, in the distant principality of Noor, there was a grocer. He was not a friendly man, but he nonetheless his store was very popular with his customers. His store had a very friendly cat, who would come out and greet every customer when they arrived.

One day the grocer brought a singing bird to the store.

“Little cat, whatever you do do not eat this bird,” the grocer warned. “I spent a lot of money on it. If you kill it, I will kick you from my store.”

The cat did as cats do, and refused to be controlled. She ate the bird.

“Enough! Begone from my home!” The grocer demanded, and kicked the cat from his grocery.

Beginning that day, the grocery took a turn for the worse. The friendly cat entertained the regulars of the grocery; with the cat’s departure, the customers stopped returning. For years the cat had kept mice away from the grocery; with the cat’s departure, the rodents returned. The grocery very quickly realized his mistake.

“Come back, dear cat!” The grocer called into the city street. “I have made a terrible mistake!”

But by then it was too late. The cat had long since been taken in by the grocer’s rival across the street.


Day 90 – Thursday May 13 2021

NOTE: Today’s story is based on the myth of Sleipneir and the 4 Horsemen.

A Trickster’s Game

Once upon a time, The Trickster thought of a merry prank to pull on his fellow gods. He decided to bring about the end of the world.

The Trickster travelled to the home of The Implacable Ferryman, deep in The Underworld.

“Cousin! How are you?” The Trickster asked the god of death.

“Why have you come?” The Ferryman asked suspiciously, for all knew The Trickster was a man of poor reputation.

“I’d like to give your horses a chance to stretch his legs,” The Trickster offered. “You’ve been so busy ferrying people lately, that I’m sure your horses would value the attention.”

“Very well. The stable is out back,” The Ferryman said, and went back to work ferrying the dead.

The Trickster took the horses of the god of death, and rode them to the darkest reaches of The Underworld, to where The Avatars of Death and Famine lay buried, chained.

“Why have you come?” The Twin Avatars asked suspciously. “Little god, we know you are man who means nothing but mischief.”

“Do you want freedom?” The Trickster asked, handing the horses to the shackled gods. “Take these horses and destroy the world.”

And so The Trickster freed the first two of The Four Horsemen of Doomsday.

The Trickster then visited The King of Waves, deep beneath the sea.

“Cousin! How are you?” The Trickster asked the god of the sea.

“Why have you come?” The Ferryman asked suspiciously, for all knew The Trickster was a man of poor reputation.

“I’d like to give your hippocampi a chance to stretch his legs,” The Trickster offered. “You’ve been so busy governing sea and storm, that I’m sure your hippocampi would value the attention.”

“Very well. The stable is out back,” The Ferryman said, and went back to work ferrying the dead.

The Trickster took the hippocampi of the god of waves, and rode them to the darkest reaches of The Abyss, to where The Avatars of Conquest and Pestilence lay chained.

“Why have you come?” The Twin Avatars asked suspciously. “Little god, we know you are man who means nothing but mischief.”

“Do you want freedom?” The Trickster asked, handing the horses to the shackled gods. “Take these hippocampi and destroy the world.”

And so The Trickster freed the second two of The Four Horsemen of Doomsday.

The Trickster then returned to The Heavens, and pretended that nothing was wrong. He arrived to find The Heavens were astir with nerves.

“Hello everyone!” The Trickster said cheerfully. “Whatever is wrong? Why is everyone nervous?”

“Someone has freed The Four Horsemen,” The Queen of Heaven said, as she looked down to the world from her sanctuary above the clouds. “Now the world is doomed!”

“My goodness! Who would do such a wicked thing?” The Trickster said. The world below was aflame, as The Four Horsemen laid waste to human civilization.

“Little Trickster, what have you done with my horses?” The Implacable Ferryman asked, grabbing The Trickster by the shoulder.

“Little Trickster, what have you done with my hippocampi?” The King of Waves asked, grabbing The Trickster by the other shoulder.

“Little Trickster, what have you done?” The King of Storms demanded, seizing The Trickster by the neck. “Why have you brought about the end of the world?!”

“It’s just a joke!” The Trickster protested as the king of gods started choking him.

“Go fix your joke, or die trying!” The King of Storms demanded, and threw The Trickster from The Heavens. The Trickster fell as a falling star from The Heavens to the world below.

“Great. Now how do I solve this problem?” The Trickster asked, as he watched The Horsemen destroy the world of men. The Trickster sighed. “The same way I usually solve these problems.”

The Trickster transformed himself into a mare in heat, and approached The Four Horsemen. Immeadetly, the four horses of the apocalypse shook off their Horsemen and chased The Trickster. The Trickster fled into the woods and the horses followed, leaving The Four Horsemen behind.

A great battle ensued, as the gods in Heaven attacked and captured the dismounted Horsemen, and confined them once again. The Implacable Ferryman and The King of Waves took back their stolen steeds and returned to their kingdoms below.

“Never pull a trick like this again,” The King of Storms threatened The Trickster when all was said and done.

“I promise,” The Trickster said, and The King of Storms let him free.

Several months later, The Trickster gave birth to four foals- all born with wings.


Day 89 – Wednesday May 12 2021

Note: I woke up feeling under the weather, thanks to yesterday’s covid shot. Thankfully the symptoms didn’t last. Let’s get our double feature started!

Learning the Wrong Lesson

A thousand years ago, the City of Luhrs was a city built entirely of wood. As a consequence, a single spark threatened to burn down the entire city. In such a city, it was common courtesy to help your neighbors put out the flames of their homes, given how easy it could be for flames to spread.

One day, the home of the merchant Timothee went up in flames.

“Help!” Timothee shrieked as his home burned down. “Some body help!”

The entire city block turned out and helped douse the fire.

“Thank you all!” Timothee said tearfully, his home and work saved through the effort of the collective. “Why would you do this for me?”

“Today you, tomorrow me,” his neighbor Paul answered, and then the impromptu firesquad went their separate ways.

That night as he retired to sleep, Timothee came up with an idea. In a city made up of wood, it stood to reason that it would be much served to have a full-time firesquad to help put out the flames. The very next day, Timothee bought a dozen slaves, and founded his firesquad. But Timothee was a canny man, and knew when there was a profit to be made.

A week later, Paul’s house caught on fire. Timothee’s firesquad arrived to put out the flames.

“Thank you for coming!” Paul said, relieved. “Without your help, surely my home would burn down!”

“Yes, indeed, without my help your home will burn down,” Timothee said, smiling. “Let’s haggle over the price for your saving your home.”

“What?! You can’t be serious!” Paul protested as his home burned.

“If you don’t want to pay, I’ll have my squad leave,” Timothee threatened. “My starting price is a hundred doubloons.”

“I’ll pay! Please, don’t let my home burn down!” Paul said, and Timothee’s squad got to work saving the home.

“Now pay up,” Timothee gloated when the ashes were cool and the home saved.

“You are a wicked man,” Paul said tearfully, handing over the money.

That night as he retired to sleep, Timothee came up with an idea. If he committed arson, he could have his firesquad on site as a home burned down. He could then leverage this advantage to make great wealth! He put this foul idea into work the next day.

For a year, Timothee’s firesquad lit homes on fire and then put out the flames, making Timothee wealthier and wealtheir by the day. After that year, Timothee owned half the city thanks to the debts owed to him. He purchased a grand manor to live in.

A year and a day later, a bolt of lightning fell from the sky and lit his grand manor on fire- the wrath of the gods. It was such an ancient palace, and it’s wood dry with age, that it burned like flash paper. Timothee’s firesquad was overwhelmed.

“Help!” Timothee shrieked as his palace burned down. “Some body help!”

No one came to help him.


The Day Death Stood Still

Once upon a time the Saint Beatrice was called in to help save a dying patient. The patient was sick with disease- a bacterial infection which would soon take his life.

“Ma’am, he has only a few hours to live!” The patient’s presiding doctor said. “I know you have a relationship with the god of death. Could you delay him long enough for the patient’s immune system to do it’s work and save his life?”

“I can try,” the saint answered. “But you must know that such games with death often end poorly for all involved. The Implacable Ferryman is a man without a sense of humor.”

Not long thereafter, The Implacable Ferryman arrived in the home of the dying patient.

“Beatrice! What are you doing here?” The Ferryman asked, astonished by the sight of the saint.

“I have come to do my work as a healer,” she said, approaching the grim god of death. “Not long ago, we shared a kiss. I was wondering: would you like to spend an entire day together?”

The god of death stood uncertain at this offer. The dread god indeed had an affection for the kindly Saint Beatrice- no strange thing, considering. The saint was not the most beautiful of women, but her inner loveliness was so grand that she was as catnip for gods.

“Is this some sort of trick?” The god asked suspiciously. “I have come to this home to claim the life of the dying. I will not leave emptyhanded.”

“No trick,” the saint promised. She shared with him another kiss- the kiss of life upon the body of death. “Come. There’s a theater down the street. Let’s go enjoy ourselves.”

The god and the saint spent the entire day going from theater to arena, enjoying plays and sports in abundance. They had a lovely time together, for they were deeply in love with one another.

But as the sun set, so too ended their afternoon together. They returned to the home of the dying patient.

“What’s this? The patient has recovered!” The god of death said, surprised. The dying patient had recovered somewhat during the day, and seemed to be on the mend. The Implacable Ferryman shook his head. “I came here to deliver this man to his final conclusion. You distracted me deliberately, didn’t you?”

“I did. Sometimes the best medicine requires an afternoon in the theater,” the saint answered, holding the god of death’s hand. “I hope you don’t hold this against me. I am a healer, after all. This is my calling.”

“I can hold nothing against you,” the god answered, holding her hand tighter, smiling. But he shook his head. “But I swore I would not leave here emptyhanded. A god’s oath is no small thing to break.”

“Take the life of the bacterial infection which plagues the man,” the saint suggested. “Stay true to your word, and take the life of the wicked infection.”

“A good suggestion.” The god of death killed the disease which plagued the man. He was cured.

“I love you,” the saint told the god.

“I love you too,” he replied, and they kissed again. With that, the god of death departed.


Day 88 – Tuesday May 11 2021

I got my covid shot today. No story update.


Day 87 – Monday May 10 2021

NOTE: I’m getting my second covid vaccine tomorrow, so chances are I won’t be in the mood for writing.

NOTE 2: This story is based on the myth of Apollo and Daphne, as well as some random Zeus myths.

The King’s Appetites

Once upon a time there was a beautiful young woman named Ianthe. She was a passionate swordswoman and a great artist devoted to the celibate goddess The Mute Artisan. Ianthe led armies to victory on the battlefield; she was queen over a prosperous queendom; her poetry and prose was much repeated over many lands.

So many were Ianthe’s successes, she caught the attention of The King of Storms. The King of Storms was amongst the greatest of gods, by whose will the rains fell upon the growing crops and lightning smites the wicked.

The King was also a notorious womanizer, unfaithful to his wife The Mute Artisan. He was a man with a taste for beauty, and power. The mortal Ianthe was attractive to everyone who saw her, The King not least of all.

He pursued her, intent to have his way with her. Ianthe, terrified of the god, fled to the temple of her patron, The Mute Artisan. But the temple was no protection against The King.

“Great goddess, I have ever been your servant, and follow in your tradition of celibacy!” Ianthe begged, even as The King ravaged her. “Save me from your ravaging husband!”

“So be it,” The Mute Artisan answered, and cursed Ianthe. The Mute Artisan’s curse transformed Ianthe into cactus, even as The King was taking his pleasure from the woman.

“Ow!” The King of Storms complained, as he withdrew himself from the cactus. “Foul woman!”

“It was no less than you deserved,” his spurned wife answered coolly. “Because you couldn’t control yourself, she shall ever remain a spiny creature, inhospitable to your love.”

“So be it,” The King grumbled. But as a momento of his love for transformed Ianthe, he bedecked the cactus with the most beautiful flower in the world- their beauty equal to the pain of their thorns.


Day 86 – Sunday May 9 2021

The Hellhound

Once upon a time the world was almost destroyed by The Fulmination. To save the world, The Trickster transformed himself into a woman, and seduced the titanic monster. Together, The Trickster and The Fulmination spawned many monstrous children.

Cutest amongst their hellspawn was The Hellhound, a dog of enormous size. The Hellhound was chained into the fiery realms of The Hells by the gods of The Heavens, and abandoned there like an unloved pet. This made The Hellhound very sad, for he loved the gods of The Heavens with all the innocence of a puppy.

For several days the infernal denizens of The Hells tormented the poor dog, who was so unjustly banished to their fiery realm. The Hellhound was a beast massive in size, and killed and ate all the demons who dared attack him. In time the demons left The Hellhound alone, and The Hellhound started whimpering from loneliness.

When The Implacable Ferryman heard the depressed whining of The Hellhound, his cold heart was turned to pity. The dog might be enormous, but he was still less than a year old. He was still a puppy. Even The Ferryman can’t stand the sight of a sad dog.

The god of death took the puppy in. The Implacable Ferryman took the puppy to The Ferryman’s palace on the very border between Life and Death. There The Hellhound stands vigilant, preventing the dead from returning to life, and the living from descending into death. And he eats any demons who attempt to escape The Hells.


Day 85 – Saturday May 8 2021

Note: This story is inspired by a Loki myth (of him giving birth to Sleipnir), the Greek Creation myth/wars of the gods, and the tales of Typhon and Echidna.

The Three Wars of the Gods

In the beginning there was nothing but the seething nothingness of Chaos. From The Chaos was birthed Ghiv, the soul of the world. Mother Ghiv was lonely in her solitude, so she embraced Chaos as a lover, and gave birth to two Primordials: Sky and Earth.

The Primordials were contrary in nature, and as soon as they existed they went to war with one another. In the wild madness of those early days, great and wonderous things were created and destroyed thoughtlessly by those powerful divinities. The battles of the firstborn children carved oceans, lakes and rivers into the surface of the world.

Having fought their wards to a standstill, the two Primordials grew bored of their eternal conflict. The first war was followed by peace, and eventual marriage between the two. From Sky and Earth were born countless creatures, both noble and monstrous.

The world’s second generation were the gods of animals and plants, those base nature divinities whose antiquity and is as great as their potency. With their birth, life was brought to the world. Stone turned into moss, moss into weeds, weeds into grassland, grassland into light forest, and light forest into dense forest.

With so much forest, all that was needed to destroy it all was a spark.

The second war began when the world’s first bolt of lightning, thrown from The Primordial of Sky. The kingdoms of Earth and Sky went to war again as fire raged. Animals were roasted alive in forest fires. For the first time, there was death.

Mother Ghiv wept with grief from the sight of death, and her bitter tears put out the flames. She ended the war by casting The Primordial of Earth deep into The Underworld, never to return. She threw The Primordial of Sky far into the sky, never to return. And so the second war ended.

The surviving spirits of animals and plants worked together to rebuild the desolate world. Forests and plains flourished, but with the spark of death brought into reality life found a cyclical balance between creation and destruction. Life ensued, and spread to every corner of reality.

Something strange happened then. A godless species- that of humanity- came into existence. No god or divinity created this new species of animal. Indeed, there is no record from whence these destructive creatures burst forth.

Mankind are a species beyond the balance of life and death, capable of great creation and destruction. Some lived in harmony with the balance of life and death, Earth and Sky. Others did not, and destroyed more than they ever created.

As humankind were godless creatures, they sought to create their own gods. They destroyed many of the gods of nature, and from the sacrifice elevated their kings and warlords to divinity.

Mother Ghiv once again wept to see her grandchildren slain, so she lashed out at mankind. Meteors fell from the sky. Volcanos erupted. Great typhoons made landfall. The cities of man crumbled to dust- or were protected by the new human gods. It was a time of madness and war, and there was no peace.

As the war stretched on, The Mother Ghiv realized that the humans were building cities faster than she could destroy them. In her rage and grief, she did something rather unwise. She mated with Chaos one last time, and from their union was born Fulmination, the greatest Primordial.

Fulmination strode across the surface of the world, mashing forests and cities with careless ease. Fulmination was a thing of purest hate, who existed in a realm beyond logic or reason. It existed purely to kill. The newborn gods of mankind stood no chance against it.

Fulmination was defeated not through war, but through love.

The god called The Trickster changed himself into a woman, and seduced him. The pair of them had many children, both fair and monstrous. They had so many children, that as massive Fulmination wrought destruction upon the world, he wrought destruction upon his own kin. Seeing his beloved, monstrous children slain brought the great Primordial to tears. Feeling grief is counter to the nature of hate, so in that moment Fulmination ceased to exist.

Thus ended the third war of the world, and all of creation was made safe for mankind.


Day 84 – Friday May 7 2021

A Betrayed Friendship

NOTE: This is based on the Fenris myth.

Once upon a time, The Trickster god decided to pull a prank on his best friend, the god commonly called The Genial One, known thus for his easily making friends of anyone and everyone, from the lowest demon to the highest saint. In secrecy, The Trickster searched far and wide for what he needed to pull of his joke, to prove The Genial One wasn’t as friendly as he so thought.

“My friend! I have a gift for you,” The Trickster said, as he presented his gift to The Genial One. “I have a puppy, just for you!”

“A puppy?” The Genial One said, reaching out to accept the furry boy.

“Before I give him to you, you must promise that you will never treat him poorly,” The Trickster said. “If you betray him, he will shed your blood.”

“I would never treat such a cute boy poorly,” The Genial One promised, and accepted the dog. The Genial One took the dog back to the home of the gods in The Heavens, where he raised him. At first all the gods adored the little puppy, and played with him daily.

But as time passed and the puppy grew, and grew, and grew. He grew larger than an elephant, larger than even the largest of gods, and still he kept growing. As he grew larger and larger, his teeth grew sharper and more numerous, his fur grew matted and foul, and his eyes became a blood-stained red.

The time was rapidly approaching when the dog had grown so large that none of the gods could any more hope to control him if the canine decided to fight them. The gods who once loved and played with the cute puppy, began to hate the adult dog.

“Where did you get such a beast?” Old One-Eyed asked The Genial One. “This dog is becoming a demon!”

“He was a gift from The Trickster,” The Genial One admitted reluctantly. Even he was beginning to have doubts about this ‘gift.’

“I don’t care where you got this animal, you must control it,” The Queen of Heaven demanded. “Take these chains and bind the animal. I can’t get sleep at night knowing the hound walks through the halls of The Heavens unbound. It could eat us all!”

The Genial One felt as though he had no choice but to obey the other gods. That night he took the chains and approached the sleeping dog.

“Hello, my friend,” the dog growled, his voice so low it made the stained glass widows of The Heavens rattle. The dog had been sleeping at the foot of The Genial One’s bed, but he had grown so huge that most of the room was now filled by dog.

“I have a game to play with you,” The Genial One said, presenting the god-forged chains to the dog. “I am going to put this leash on you, and we are going to go for a walk.”

“I love playing. No one plays with me anymore,” the dog said. He then noticed the muzzle on the chains. “What sort of leash is this? I don’t want to wear it.”

“It’s the only leash I have which fits you,” The Genial One lied. “Will you let me put it on you?”

“Do you promise to take it off again afterwards?” The dog asked.

“Yes,” The Genial One lied. The dog could sense the deception.

“I will let you put the muzzle on me, on the condition that you put your hand in my mouth as you put it on,” the dog demanded.

The Genial One felt he had no other choice but to obey the dog’s request. The god put his hand in the dog’s mouth, and then tightened the muzzle over the dog’s mouth.

“I don’t like this muzzle,” the dog complained the very moment the chains were wrapped around him. “Take all this off.”

“I can’t do that,” The Genial One admitted.

“But you’re my friend, aren’t you? Take off the chains,” the dog repeated again.

“I won’t do that,” the god said, shaking his head.

So the dog bit off the god’s hand.

All the gods in Heaven teamed up to drag the struggling dog off to Hell, where they bound him in perpetuity. The dog howled as they abandoned him there.

Here is this story from another perspective.

The puppy was welcomed into Heaven when he was young and cute, and he made friends of everyone who lived amongst the divine. He was a happy dog.

But as time passed and he grew and grew, he quickly lost friends. He didn’t understand why all his former friends abandoned him. But the dog forgave all of them, for he was a good boy.

And then one day The Genial One approached him with chains.

“I have a game to play with you. I am going to put this leash on you, and we are going to go for a walk.”

“I love playing. No one plays with me anymore,” the dog said eagerly, for he missed the playtime he used to have with all his former friends. “What sort of leash is this? I don’t want to wear it.”

“It’s the only leash I have which fits you. Will you let me put it on you?”

“Do you promise to take it off again afterwards?”

“Yes.”

The dog could sense the deception coming from his master, but the dog was a good boy and trusted The Genial One anyway.

“I will let you put the muzzle on me, on the condition that you put your hand in my mouth as you put it on.”

The god put his hand in the dog’s mouth, and then tightened the muzzle over the dog’s mouth.

“I don’t like this muzzle. Take all this off.”

“I can’t do that.”

“But you’re my friend, aren’t you? Take off the chains,” the dog asked, his inner innocence shining through.

“I won’t do that.”

So the dog bit off the god’s hand. The attack was not out of malice, but the act of a beaten dog lashing out.

The gods dragged the dog off to Hell, where they bound him in perpetuity. The dog howled in fear as all his friends abandoned him, leaving him with strangers.

You tell me, who was truly the genial one?


Day 83 – Thursday May 6 2021

Holding Back the Tide

Once upon a time there was a sorceress who prided herself in her skill with magic. With her sorcery she defeated many a foe, from the vampires of the Sumpfig swamps, to the druids of Pouria to the shaman of distant Noor. But as her life came to a close, she realized there was one enemy she had never defeated: death himself.

To defeat that greatest of all enemies, she gathered up reagents from far and wide. When she was ready, she performed the rite. On a dark night with no moons in the sky, she used her high art to summon the god of death. The Implacable Ferryman arrived, dressed in raggedy clothing and carrying an oar and flint sickle.

“Why have you called me, sorceress?” His voice was cold, but not unkind.

“By salt and grave mold, black rose and yew, you are bound to me,” the great sorceress demanded, the authority of her voice strong enough to uphold the very firmament. “By my magic, mighty daimon, I bind you to my will.”

Her power wound around the god and placed mighty shackles upon him. But the god of death is not so easily controlled.

“What do you ask of me?” Death himself asked.

“Mighty diamon, I demand you tell me how I might claim immortality,” the woman commanded. “Give me back the years I’ve lost, so I might live them again and again.”

“Your magical shackles are as mighty as your hubris, to command the god of death to speak of immortality,” the god of death said, bowing his head with feigned humility. “Were it not for the strength of your shackles I would never tell you this. To claim immortality, you must hold back the tide. This I swear: so long as the god of the sea in your shackles, I will not come to harvest your soul.”

“Our bargain is struck. Now begone, daimon!” The sorceress commanded, and exorcised the god.

The sorceress gathered reagents from far and wide. When she was ready, she performed the rite. On a dark night with no moons in the sky, she used her high art to summon the god of the sea. The King of Waves arrived as summoned, adorned in samite garb and carrying fishing harpoon and wearing crown of coral.

“Why have you called me, sorceress?” His voice was that of a drowned man.

“By seaweed and shark tooth, blood and pearl, you are bound to me,” the great sorceress demanded, the authority of her voice strong enough to build a bridge over the broadest of oceans. “By my magic, mighty daimon, I bind you to my will.”

Her power wound around the god and placed mighty shackles upon him. But the god of the sea is not so easily contained.

“What do you ask of me?” The Sea asked.

“Mighty daimon, I demand nothing. You are my prisoner from now until the end of time,” the woman answered.

“You are a fool to think you can contain the restless tide,” The Oceans said, and laughed. “Can water be shackled?”

“Submit!” The greatest of sorceresses commanded, and used her high art to contain the god.

For a full day the sorceress dominated the god, binding him completely by her magic. But as the moons rose, so too did the tide. In her hubris, she hadn’t accounted for the sea’s wives, the moons in the sky, as she gathered reagents and performed the rituals. The presence of the moons empowered the god of the tide, and allowed him to break her chains. And so The King of Waves drowned the greatest sorceress.

“Such is the punishment for hubris,” The King of Waves said to her ghost. “Water cannot be contained by chains, only by cupped hands.”

“Such is the punishment for hubris,” The Implacable Ferryman said to her ghost. “Immortality cannot be found through trickery, only by making a legacy for yourself.”


Day 82 – Wednesday May 5 2021

Note: This is my 22nd short story I’ve written in this. That’s pretty good!

The Price of Power

Once upon a time the god known as The King of Storms had a bastard child with a mortal woman. The child was very proud of his divine heritage, so he told everyone he met who his father was.

One day, when he was travelling through foreign lands, he was set upon by brigands.

“Oh ho! You better not hurt me, for my father is The King of Storms! He will kill you all!” The bastard son said to the men who captured him.

“Your father is a god, eh?” The brigand king said. He cracked a smile, and put some shackles on the child. “You’ll make a good hostage.”

The brigand carried the boy away to his remote mountain citadel, and there performed a ritual to summon The King of Storms.

“Old man, I have captured your son!” The brigand shouted to the thunderous sky. He pointed a knife at the throat of the boy. “Give me power or I will slay your son!”

“You want power?” The King of Storms said. “Then you shall have power.”

Lightning fell from the sky. After an hour of being struck by lightning, all that was left of the brigand king’s corpse was ash and dust.

The brigand’s second in command freed the boy, and gave him some gold for good measure.


Day 81 – Tuesday May 4 2021

NOTE: I changed my mind. I am writing a story today.

The Garden Within

Not so long ago, two practitioners of Zen Druidism visited The Kaiserreich’s largest and best Botanical Gardens. The gardens contained the most beautiful plants from around the world. It was mid spring, so all the flowers were in bloom, painting the landscape in a rainbow of pastels and vivid greens. Some would argue it was the most beautiful place in the entire world.

The old Zen Druid found a nice spot in the middle of the gardens, sat down and closed his eyes. His apprentice Zen Druid gazed at his mentor, baffled.

“Why have you closed your eyes, Archdruid?” The young druid asked. “It is a beautiful day, and so many flowers are in bloom! Surely you offend the gods by closing your eyes to the beauty they’ve laid out for us!”

“The beauty of the garden around us pales in comparison to the beauty of the garden we seek to cultivate inside of ourselves,” the old Zen Druid chastised his junior. “Never turn your eyes away from the spark of divinity the gods have poured into your soul. Cultivate that spark, my apprentice, and you will have found the meaning of life.”

“Archdruid, I don’t understand what you’re saying!” The apprentice complained.

“Enjoy the beauty of the world for what it is: a fleeting echo of The Divine Truth which we worship. Treat the temporary beauty of the natural world with reverence, for the gods provided that beauty to us as a practice for worshipping the eternal beauty of The Divine.”

The apprentice Zen Druid wouldn’t understand this lesson until many years had passed.


Day 80 – Monday May 3 2021

NOTE: I’m not writing a story tomorrow. I’m donating blood and I’ll be tired.

A Drop of Water

An young man lay dying of a sword wound, and the Saint Beatrice went to comfort him.

“Is there nothing which can be done to save him?” The young soldier’s superior officer asked.

“There is not,” the saint said, shaking her head. “He will be gone come morning. I will remain with him overnight, to give him what comfort I can.”

Day transformed into night, and the saint remained with the dying soldier. When the yawning mouth of death opened, the young man grew anxious.

“What is it like, being dead?” The young man asked, for the Saint Beatrice had returned from beyond the mortal veil.

“When you were born, the gods poured out a measure of soul into your body. Your soul is like a snowflake: a completely unique pattern. As you live, that snowflake can become any number of things- a snowball, a snowman, compressed into ice. But eventually the spring comes, and with it the thaw. When that happens, the ice reverts to it’s true form: a drop water. The drop of water will feed crops, or be drunk by animals. In time, the drop of water will flow out to sea. It will mingle with other drops of water, share of itself freely, and in so doing become more than it was already. That one drop will cease to exist, it’s essence mingled with a million other drops.”

“In time, water will become snow again. Never again will the world ever see quite the same pattern of snowflake, but it will see a million similar patterns.”

“If the drop ceases to exist, after I die will I remain the same person?” The young soldier pleaded. “I don’t want to forget my past life.”

“Are you the same person now that you were when you were born? Do you remember your time as an infant? Are you the same person now that you were before you were stabbed? Do you remember what you had for breakfast a week ago?” The saint asked, not unkindly. “Memory is an illusion; you’ve already forgotten 99% of your life. Death is a transformation like any other. It is not to be feared.”

The saint took the dying soldier’s hand, and escorted him into the afterlife.


Day 79 – Sunday May 2 2021

The Old Witch

NOTE: This story is inspired by a Baba Yaga myth.

There was once an old witch who lived in the darkest part of the evil woods. She was a wicked woman who had spent a long life indulging her every cannibalistic whim and murderous intent. When she grew old and tired, the retired to the woods, to live out her days in gloomy solitude.

There was an isolated village in the middle of the evil woods not far from the witch. In that village, there lived an aging blacksmith. After his first wife died, he married again. As his days grew short, he wrote a will: all his wealth and property would be splint between the daughter from his first marriage and his second wife. Until his daughter reached adulthood, his second wife would raise his child to adulthood.

The second wife was an unkindly and inauspicious woman. She long resented the daughter born from the first marriage. Not long after that the husband died, and she resented the girl even more.

“Little Marie, do the dishes!” The widow demanded.

“Yes ma’am,” the unwelcome daughter said, and washed the dishes until they were spotless.

“Look at these dishes! They are messy! You should be ashamed of yourself,” the widow spat. “Now sweep the floor!”

“Yes ma’am,” the unwelcome daughter said, and swept the floor until it was spotless.

“Look at this floor! It’s messy! You should be ashamed of yourself,” the widow said, and spanked the girl. And on and on the mistreatment went.

Meanwhile the widow spoiled herself with every vanity she desired. Gold, jewels, drink. The unwanted daughter was forced to sleep in the barn, and only allowed to bathe once a week- but such was the daughter’s virtue that not even the most coal-hearted louse had the wickedness to torment the girl.

Finally the widow grew fed up.

“You cost me so much money to feed!” The widow complained. “I’ve made an arrangement with the old witch of the woods. You will stay with her for the next year, and be her maidservant. In exchange, she will give you a dowry of gold.”

“Yes ma’am,” Little Marie said dutifully, and went to the witches forest home. The home was surrounded by a fence of bones, with skulls adorning fenceposts of femurs. All the bones showed signs of having a human gnawing upon them.

“Serve me well and I will reward you with more gold than you can possibly spend,” the wicked witch said. “Serve me poorly and I eat you. And no complaining.”

“Yes ma’am,” the girl said dutifully.

“Do the dishes,” the witch demanded. “Clean them well, or I’ll be eating you off of them.”

“Yes ma’am.” Little Marie cleaned the dishes until they were spotless. When the witch came to judge the girl’s diligence, the witch could not complain.

“Now sweep the floors. Clean them well, or I’ll use your hair as a broom next.”

Yes ma’am,” Little Marie said, and got to work sweeping the floor of the witch’s forest home. Once again, the witch could not fault the girl’s diligence.

And on and on this mistreatment went, for a full year. When the year came up, and the witch could not fault Little Marie’s diligence, the witch gave Marie a great dowry of gold.

“I appreciate your skill. Unlike so many, you work tirelessly and thoroughly, thinking of other people and not yourself. You are rewarded for your dignity. Now begone from my home, and live a good life.”

Marie returned to her little forest village, to find that the widow had spent all the money her father had left behind for Marie in his will. The wicked stepmother was destitute, having made imprudential choices.

“Marie! Give me your dowry!” The wicked stepmother demanded, and tried to rip the case containing the gold away from Marie. But Marie’s arms were strong after a year spent in labor to such a demanding mistress, and she wouldn’t let the money be stolen.

“This wealth is not yours, and I am not obliged to share it with you. I have done everything you asked throughout my life, and now that I have reached adulthood I no longer need you. Goodbye forever.”

Little Marie bought a horse, and rode out of the evil forest. With her large dowry of gold, she went on to marry a prince and live a long and happy life.

The wicked stepmother grew desperate shortly after that. She went to the witch, and became her maidservant.

“Serve me well and I will reward you with more gold than you can possibly spend,” the wicked witch said. “Serve me poorly and I eat you. And no complaining.”

“If you insist,” the lazy widow said sarcastically.

“Do the dishes,” the witch demanded. “Clean them well, or I’ll be eating you off of them.”

The wicked stepmother was lazy, having let Little Marie do all the housework for years. She failed to clean the pots until they were spotless.

The wicked witch ate well that night.


Day 78 – Saturday May 1 2021

A Deal with a Demon

NOTE: I felt like writing a horror story today. Enjoy!

Once upon a time, in far off Shenomia, there was a aristocrat who aspired to greatness, but was forever stymied by Fate. Over his long life, he gambled away all the wealth he inherited, lost everyone he loved, and even had his lands taken from him by war.

Having become an exile from his homelands, he spent night after night travelling from bar to bar, drinking himself to death. One midnight, in an tavern built at the fork in a major road, the aristocrat Jerone had an unusual drinking companion.

“My life is ruined!” Jerone complained to the man dressed all in white. “I’ve lost everything and everyone I ever loved! What I wouldn’t give to have it all back!”

“Would you give your soul to have it all back?” The man in white asked.

“Why would you say that?” Jerone asked, drunk after many cups that evening.

“I am… a man of means. I offer you a trade: three wishes, and you go to Hell,” the man in white offered.

Jerone was not a stupid man. He knew he shouldn’t bargain with a creature of the night. But the offer was too much for him to ignore. He thought long and hard, trying to outwit the monster.

“My first wish is for all the wealth in the world- but you may take my soul only after all that wealth has run out.”

“Very well,” the man in white nodded. “You will not be disappointed in this bargain. I will return in a year, to grant you your second wish.”

The man in white departed the tavern.

Beginning the next day, the aristocrat’s fortunes changed. His cousin’s family died (slain by daggers in the night), and he inherited his cousin’s duchy. It was a wealthy duchy, for many silver mines littered the lands. Overnight, Jerone went from pauper to prince.

A year later, the man in white visited Jerone at midnight.

“Speak now you second wish.”

“I wish for love. You may take my soul when I am loveless.”

The man in white departed.

The next day a hundred young women of quality from all over the world arrived at Jerone’s ducal palace, desperate to marry the new unmarried duke who was rich in silver. Jerone chose the most beautiful woman to be his bride, a peasant.

A year later, the man in white visited Jerone for a third time at midnight.

“Speak now your third wish.”

“I wish for eternal life. You may take my soul only when I am dead.”

“In a year, I will send you to The Hells,” the man in white promised, and departed.

The very next day, the same assassins which killed his cousin’s family came to kill Jerone. Their crossbow bolts could not break his skin. Three months after that, the poison in his food failed to kill him. And three months before the time Jerone’s soul came due, Jerone survived being pushed off a cliff.

And then the day of Jerone’s reaping came. The man in white arrived at midnight, and Jerone smiled upon seeing the demon.

“My friend, I could not be happier with our bargain! You have granted me immense wealth, a loving family, and eternal life!”

“I am pleased you’ve enjoyed yourself. It is time for you to uphold your end of the bargain.”

“But wait! I said you may take my soul only when my wealth, love and life are gone. None of them are gone. I have outwitted you!”

“You thought you could outwit a one of The Kindly Ones?” The man in white asked. “How wrong you are.”

At that very moment, an enemy army released their war-cry, and charged Jerone’s palace. Within one hour, the enemy army locked up Jerone in his own dungeon, stripping him of his wealth and power.

“I still have my love,” Jerone said, hugging his wife tight.

At that very moment, the leader of the enemy army arrived in the dungeon, and took his wife as his concubine. She went with him willingly, for she only married Jerone for his wealth.

“I still have my life,” Jerone said, weeping in despair. “You can’t take my soul so long as I live!”

At that very moment, the executioner of the enemy army arrived.

“My assassins tell me you are immortal,” the executioner said, motioning for the carpenter behind him to enter. The carpenter carried a coffin into the room. “Immortality is ungodly. Your punishment is burial.”

“This wasn’t in the deal! You can’t take my soul!” Jerone screamed as the executioner and the carpenter hammered the nails into the coffin door.

“I never bargained for your soul,” the man in white said. He departed for the last time.

The enemy army buried Jerone in an unmarked grave, still alive and screaming. There Jerone lies to this day, trapped in his own private Hell. Legends say that once a year at midnight, a man in white stands at a particular unmarked grave in Shenomia, laughing.

It is the most grievous folly to try outwitting the agents of The Hells. They are wiser then man, and crueler too. When you walk a forked road, always take the righthand path.


Day 77 – Friday April 30 2021

The Talking Fish

Once upon a time, the King of Ismundia owned a talking fish.

“Woe is me!” The fish would wail. “I am trapped in the king’s fish pond, never again to swim the majestic sea!”

“Quiet, you! Sing for my amusement!” The king demanded of his fish. And so the talking fish would sing for hours and hours for the king’s amusement. This cycle of grief and singing would repeat daily.

Then one day the king won a great war, and doubled the size of his kingdom. In celebration he promised to grant a boon to each an every one of his servants. The fish seized his chance.

“I want you to free me,” the fish demanded.

“No, I spent too much on you to free you,” the king said angrily. “I will grant you anything but that.”

“Then I ask you to find me the world’s only other talking fish. I want a conversation partner,” the fish demanded.

And so the king searched far and wide, and found the world’s only other talking fish.

He cast wide his net, and threw it into the ocean, catching the freely singing ichtheopod.

“Good sir, why have you wrapped me round with this rope?” The free fish asked as the king tightened the rope net tight around the second fish.

“My pet fish demanded I bring him a conversation partner. That partner is you. You are now my slave,” the king explained as he pulled the fish from the shallows of the ocean.

“It is better to die free than live a slave,” the second talking fish said, and spontaneously died in the king’s hand. The king cast the fish back into the ocean.

The king returned to his captured fish.

“I cannot grant your wish. Your fellow fish is dead, having died in my arms after saying ‘it is better to die free than live a slave,'” the king apologized to his talking fish. “Name another boon, and I shall grant it.”

“Sorrowful is I! I am now alone!” The world’s one remaining talking fish wailed. “My sorrow is such that I feel myself dying! The boon I demand is that after I die you cast my body into the same water you threw the body of the only other talking fish!”

“I will see it done,” the king promised. Right on cue, the singing fish died, turning over to float belly-up in the king’s fish pond.

The king, true to his word carried the body of the dead fish out to the nearby sea, and threw it into the waves. The talking fish hit the waves, and came alive again. At the same moment, the world’s only other talking fish swum to the surface and floated next to it.

“Good sir! Thank you for delivering me to my watery home! Thank you for giving me the conversation partner I’ve longed for! I apologize for tricking you into thinking I was dead, but there was no other way to achieve my want!”

“I don’t understand! I thought you were dead!” The king protested. “Come back! You are my singing fish! I promise to treat you with respect!”

“I think not. My fellow singing fish made me realize that you only respect things after you’ve lost them,” the singing fish said, and slapped water upon the king. “My friend and I will swim far away, and you will never see us again. So long, and respect me well!”

And so the two talking fish swam away, and the king cursed himself for his folly.


Day 76 – Thursday April 29 2021

The Cursed Pyramid

A long time ago in the distant Pharaonate of Shev, the great and terrible Pharaoh died. All of The Pharaoh’s enemies attended the hated Pharaoh’s funeral and internment into his pyramid, to prove to see the last of their hated enemy.

Foremost among the guests at the funeral was Tenet, The Pharaoh’s most hated enemy. Tenet was very sickly with disease and old age. He’d sworn to outlive The Pharaoh, and to spit on his tomb, and had survived well past his fourscore years out of sheer spite. He’d even survived two heart attacks.

As the funeral ritual went on, and the dead Pharaoh’s expensive grave goods made of gold and silver were carried into his tomb, Tenet interrupted the funeral.

“Enough of this! None of us mourn the dead Pharaoh! Everyone hated him,” Tenet shouted. “Let’s steal his grave goods, and let him enter the afterlife a pauper!”

When Tenet laid his hands upon the first gold object within the tomb, the great enemy dropped dead.

“Sacrelidge. Such is the punishment for any who would rob the dead,” the craven vizier gasped at the mere suggestion of tomb robbery. When he picked up the gold object to return it to it’s place, the craven vizier clutched at his chest. “Even in death, our king holds the power of life and death. His curse remains on his treasures. To touch them is to die!”

And so The Pharaoh’s craven vizier died too, for the crime of merely touching the gold and jewels hidden within The Pharaoh’s tomb. The surviving nobility locked the tomb up tight and prayed to the gods that the evil Pharaoh’s curse would never escape.

One day, many years later, Tenet’s grandson grew desperate. His family needed food, but he had not the wealth to buy any. Knowing not else to do, he decided to turn to grave robbing.

He returned to The Pharaoh’s pyramid, and entered. He used the sacred keys entrusted to the nobility, and opened The Pharaoh’s cursed tomb. For a century no one had touched the gold and silver locked within, afraid of the evil king’s ruthless curse.

Tenet’s grandson whispered a prayer to the god of kindness, and laid his hands upon a golden ewer. Tenet’s grandson didn’t die. He released a sigh of relief, and looted the tomb for all it contained. The grandson grew fabulously wealthy thereby, and went on to establish a new dynasty.

The curse didn’t kill the grandson, because there was no curse. Tenet died of old age, and the craven vizier died due to his cowardly nature causing a heart attack. The moral of this story is that things are not always as they seem.


Day 75 – Wednesday April 28 2021

The Beginning of a Legend

Once upon a time, in a far-away land, there was an evil God-King who ruled since time immemorial. In his land, there was a single, sacred law: every human family must give up their firstborn child to be blood sacrificed for the The God-King’s glory.

In his lands lived a happy couple. They’d married young, but after many barren years they’d given up hope of ever having children. But one day the impossible happened: the good gods granted them a child.

The couple, knowing the gods would never grant them a second such miracle, grew desperate. They could not keep their child, for the evil God-King would demand him as sacrifice. So they did the only thing they could think of: they gave up the child to the nymphs of of the river, in hope that they would protect him. The nymphs, aquatic creatures that they were, could not raise the air-breathing child themselves. So they in turn passed the child along to an old friend of theirs- the evil God-King’s wife, The God-Queen.

The wife brought the child into her home and raised him as her own son. The God-King was punished for his wickedness with a paucity of children, so he too welcomed this child into their family. Together, he and his wife named the child Marcus Antonius, and adopted him as their own son. They raised Marcus to enforce their child-sacrifice rites. Marcus eventually married, and started a family of his own.

In time, Marcus grew old. His divine parents began to fret, knowing that for all their power their newfound child would die. So they made a bargain with Fate: Marcus would become immortal, but The God-King must slay his own father, The Center of The Universe.

And so The God-King slew The Center of The Universe. This threw all of reality into chaos, for The Center was the axis upon which the very firmament of realty spun. Reality itself was destroyed, for the sake of a parent’s love for their child.

Time and Space were thrown into chaos, and it took the gods a thousand timeless aeons to right what was wronged. But, eventually, all of reality was rebalanced upon a new axis- with The God-King at it’s center.

When reality was renewed once again, The Fates stayed true to their word: Marcus Antonius was made immortal. Marcus’ biological parents were overjoyed at their son’s good fortune. They disguised themselves as beggars, and approached Marcus’ firstborn son. They asked Marcus’ firstborn son to arrange a meeting with the new immortal. When at last that meeting was arranged, Marcus’ biological parents revealed to Marcus that he was their firstborn son- and he was human.

Marcus, horrified by the knowledge of his humanity, was faced with a choice: either obey the sacred law and kill his own firstborn human child, or rebel against his father and seize the throne from him.

Marcus chose to rebel. He slew The God-King. This threw all of reality into chaos, for The God-King was the axis upon which the very firmament of realty spun. Reality itself was destroyed, for the sake of a parent’s love for their child.

Time and Space were thrown into chaos, and it took the gods a thousand timeless aeons to right what was wronged. But, eventually, all of reality was rebalanced upon a new axis- with Marcus at it’s center.


Day 74 – Tuesday April 27 2021

A Change of Plans

There was once a Shamanic Lodge which accepted students from far and wide. It was a prestigious school, and employed dozens of great teachers from around the world.

Oldest of the teachers was Master Defuoe. He was an ailing shaman, with notoriously poor eyesight, but such was his pride that he refused to wear eyeglasses.

One day Master Defuoe was sitting in the Lodge’s gardens, enjoying the afternoon sunlight. A new student, who was most unsure of himself, walked through the front gate of the Lodge, and approached the old Master.

“Good sir, I have come to attend this school. My letter of summons tells me to go to the administrative building. Which way is it?” The unsure student asked.

“That way,” the old master said, pointing back to the front gate of the Lodge.

“Are you sure, sir?” The unsure student asked. “I’m pretty sure that’s-“

“I said it’s that way!” The prideful elder shaman answered, angered at having his vision questioned. “Now go away! I am enjoying my afternoon in the sun!”

The unsure student followed Master Defuoe’s instructions and walked back out the front gate of the Shamanic Lodge, never to return. The student lost his chance at a shamanic education, but perhaps this was for the best. The prideful and myopic instructors of that Lodge would have made poor teachers.


Day 73 – Monday April 26 2021

NOTE: As I promised, I owed you 2 additional stories. As promised, I delivered. Enjoy!

A Difference of Perspective

Once upon a time, two children were walking down the beach. Their parents sent them to collect seashell cowries which were the common currency in those parts. As they waded through the tide pools, the boy and girl ogled the animals who were trapped near the shore.

“What is that?” The boy asked the girl, pointing at a squirming, eight-armed animal who changed colors even as they watched. “Looking at that demon makes me want to puke!”

“My father told me about them before. It’s no demon. It’s called an octopus,” the girl answered.

“And what’s that?” The boy asked, pointing at a spiney beast squirming among the sands.

“That’s a sea urchin,” the girl answered.

“What a strange world lives below the waves,” the boy said, and then the two of them went back to finding cowrie shells.

Meanwhile below the waves, the octopus and the sea urchin were talking.

“What is that?” The octopus asked the sea urchin, pointing with one tentacle up at the two children above. “Looking at those demons makes me want to puke!”

“They’re no demons; they’re children,” the sea urchin answered.

“What a strange world lives above the waves,” the octopus said, and the two of them went back to hunting cowries to eat.


Grace

Once upon a time, the Saint Beatrice was healing the sick with the powers the gods had bestowed upon her. It was in the aftermath of a great battle between the Vampiric Empire and the Magocracy of Tenev, and there were many injured- most of them civilians. The Saint Beatrice, such was her kindness, labored for hours and brought herself to the brink of death by exhaustion heal the wounded.

As she drew to the absolute limit of her strength, two patients remained for her to heal. She had the strength to heal only one of them. The other one would die in short order without Beatrice’s aid.

The first patient was a girl of ten, who had lost her entire family in the madness of war. If Beatrice saved her, the girl would go to be raised like the tens of thousands of other war-orphans in the poverty of a post-war orphanage. The girl was no one special, and would not be missed if she died.

The second patient was an woman of seventy, who singlehandedly saved her entire family despite the madness of war. The dying woman was a trained midwife, so if Beatrice saved her the midwife would be able to help tending the wounded. As the beloved matriarch of a large clan, the elder would be missed if she died.

So the Saint was presented with a puzzle: should she save the girl whose life mattered very little in the grand scheme of things, but would have the longer lifespan? Or should she save the older woman whose life mattered quite a bit in the grand scheme of things, but whose potential lifespan was much shorter? The Saint could not make a decision.

“What furrows your brow?” The old woman asked the saint.

“I have enough energy to save but one person; either you, or this orphan girl,” the saint explained. “I don’t know who I should save.”

“Save her. As I have spent my life in service to the living, so too shall I spend my death,” the old midwife said. “I hereby adopt the girl, and my family shall raise her as one of our own.”

And thus it was done. The saint respected the matriarch’s choice, and saved the life of the girl. The matriarch died after adopting the orphan into her family. Many years later, the orphan would become matriarch of that same clan, and a healer too. War took from that clan one matriarch, but it gave them a new one.


The Rewards of Procrastination

The king of Thremina put out a call for a new court poet, after the previous one died. There was to be a poetry competition, with the winner of the competition getting a job for life.

Two brothers answered the call.

“I bet I’ll become the court poet!” The elder of the two said, cocksure in his confidence. “No one’s poetry is better than mine, not even yours, my dear brother!”

“You are indeed the best poet I know,” the younger sibling said humbly, bowing his head in respect. “But I shall compete anyway, in hopes that a lesser lord will notice me and hire me.”

“That is very worthy of you,” the elder brother said patronizingly.

“Will you help me practice?” The younger sibling asked. “We both should practice, for we won’t be the only entrants in this competition.”

“The poetry competition is in a full month away. I’ve time to practice later,” the elder poet promised.

But the elder brother didn’t practice. Instead he rested on his laurels, knowing himself inborn the most skillful poet on the planet. Meanwhile the younger sibling, born unskilled, studied the masters of poetry and practiced every day.

The day of the competition came. A hundred poets competed for the prize.

The elder brother was disqualified in the first round of the competition, for his poems weren’t as good as the least of the hundred other poets.

The younger poet won the competition, and became the king’s poet.


Day 72 – Sunday April 25 2021

No story today. I lost track of time. IOU 2 stories now.


Day 71 – Saturday April 24 2021

An Uninvited Guest

Once upon a time, The God of Hospitality invited The Accuser to his residence for a meal. While The Accuser was there, the two divinities got to discussing human nature.

“Humanity is innately corrupt. Even the most virtuous human can be tempted into falling,” The Accuser claimed.

“I disagree. Humankind is innately good, but prone to acts of selfishness and cruelty,” The God of Hospitality answered.

“Then let’s make a bet of it. I will do everything in my power to tempt the most virtuous human on the planet into falling from your Grace,” The Accuser said. “You will stand aside and do nothing as I seek to corrupt him.”

“Agreed,” The God of Hospitality said. “I give you three days to do your ill deeds.”

And so the two gods went down to earth, to the home of the most virtuous man on the planet.

Eugenedes was a virtuous cleric of old Theodocian stock, who lived the humble life of a farmer. He donated more than that standard ten percent tithe of his wealth to charity. He was a man of excellence and kindness.

The Accuser assumed the shape of a human and visited the old cleric.

“May I spend the night in your home?” The Accuser asked the virtuous man. “I am a poor madman, and do not always have control of my actions.”

“Of course,” Eugenedes said graciously, and opened his home to the stranger. “I never turn away a stranger.”

That night, in defiance of the code of hospitality, The Accuser smashed and destroyed all of the old cleric’s furniture. Come dawn, Eugenedes looked around his home, dumbstruck by the wreckage.

“Why have you done this?” The old man asked, weeping.

“It was an accident, done in a moment when I lost control of myself. Can I spend another night here?” The Accuser asked.

“Of course. I never turn away a stranger.”

On the second night The Accuser took all of the virtuous man’s clothing and food stores to the privy, and befouled them permanently. Come dawn, Eugenedes looked upon his destroyed food and clothing, and wept.

“Why have you done this?”

“It was an accident. Can I spend another night? If you ask, I will leave.”

The virtuous man hesitated. The Law of Sacred Hospitality mandated graciousness in the face of poor behavior by a houseguest, but this behavior was beyond the pale. Eugenedes would be well within his rights to turn away the stranger.

However Eugenedes lived far away from anyone else. If he turned the stranger away, the stranger would undoubtedly die to the bandits and wolves between Eugenedes’ home and the next village.

“You may stay, but please be more careful tonight.”

On the third night, The Accuser killed Eugenedes’ wife and children. Come dawn, Eugenedes looked upon his dead family and knew grief.

“Why have you done this?” Eugenedes asked, enraged.

“It was an accident,” The Accuser answered. “Will you not forgive me? If you do not forgive me, I shall throw myself off a cliff.”

The stranger had shattered The Law of Sacred Hospitality through-and-through. Eugenedes would be justified to cast out, let alone kill, the intruder to his home.

But Eugenedes could not condemn a man to death for madness he had no control over.

“You will leave my home and never return, but I beg you to not kill yourself,” Eugenedes ordered the stranger.

The stranger nodded, and left.

“It seems I have lost this bet,” The Accuser said, upon resuming his place in The Heavens. “Eugenedes is a man beyond corruption. Mankind’s nature is not evil.”

The God of Hospitality nodded sagely.

“And now the damage must be undone. Repair the damage you have done to Eugenedes,” The God of Hospitality demanded.

That night Eugenedes’ wife and children returned- it was revealed that the dead bodies were merely blocks of wood bewitched to look like the deceased. The next night a donkey cart pulling an abandoned truckload of food, clothing and broken furniture found it’s way to Eugenedes’ door, more than replacing what was lost. Eugenedes lived a long and happy life thereafter.


Day 70 – Friday April 23 2021

Note: I still owe you 1 Story

A Bargain with Death

During the early reign of Kaiser Elias Pantheo, deep in the Sumpfig Swamplands there lived a young lady who fell in love with a young man. He was killed when he served The Kaiser as a soldier, and his body was lost in foreign lands, never to be properly buried. Their love never fulfilled, his unquiet ghost returned from beyond death to haunt his beloved.

Three years after the poor soldier’s death, his ghost still haunted the young lady. Whenever she tried to move on from her lost love and court another man, the ghost’s fury was roused and she was forced to cut off all such engagements.

When the Saint Beatrice, beloved of the gods, heard of her sad tale, she went to visit the poor woman. Beatrice found the woman to be in a sad state, still wearing her unused wedding gown about the haunted manor which had become her home.

“My dear, I have heard of your troubles, and I’ve come to help you,” the Saint Beatrice offered the young woman.

“It is too late for me Saint Beatrice, beloved of the gods,” the young woman said, shaking her head. “The druids have divined the stars and foreseen that only true love’s kiss can lift the ghost’s curse from me. Now that he is dead and gone, I shall never kiss him again.”

“Where there is hope, nothing is impossible,” the Saint said firmly, and she turned her heart to prayer. She called out to the gods, begging for a miracle.

Deep within the shadowed realms, The Implacable Ferryman- the god of death- heard the Saint’s prayer. Such was the Saint’s wholesomeness that even that most grim of gods was turned to kindness. So he left is shadowed realms and joined the Saint in the land of the living.

“Why have I been summoned?” The god of death demanded of the saint.

“Oh great god of death, I have a boon to beg of you. This woman is haunted by the unquiet ghost of her dead lover. The druids have divined the stars, and determined that the ghost will only rest with true love’s kiss,” the Saint explained to the god. “Will you not turn your heart to mercy just this once, and allow the dead to return to life for just one moment so true love’s kiss can break this curse?”

The Implacable Ferryman is not a cruel god, but neither is he a kind one. All petitioners begging clemency find him quite the pitiless magistrate. But the warmth of the Saint’s inner fire inspired a holy mercy within that cold god, stirring him to act.

“I shall do as you ask- for a price,” the god demanded.

“What price do you demand?” The Saint asked.

“As the girl desires true love’s kiss, so do I. Bestow upon me a kiss of your own, and I shall allow the two lovers to spend a moment together one last time.”

The Saint smiled, and she kissed the dark god with the delicacy of a lady bestowing a chaste kiss upon her favored knight’s cheek. The dark god felt uncharacteristic joy in that moment, and with a happy heart went to go fetch the lost soldier from the dark lands of the dead.

From dusk till dawn, the young soldier and his bride spent one last evening together, kissing, talking, saying goodbye. And so the curse was broken and the ghost freed at last.

From dusk till dawn, the Saint and the dark god spent their first evening together, kissing, talking, and when at last the evening came to an end, saying goodbye. And so began the legendary romance between the God of Death, and the Saint of Mercy.

When at last the sun rose, the god and the dead soldier departed, leaving their lovers behind.


Day 69 – Thursday April 22 2021

Note: I still owe you 1 story.

A Chess Game

Once upon a time in the now-destroyed City of Theomussa, during the Holiday of Holy Lights, a husband and wife enjoyed chilled wine together as they waited for their grandchildren to return home from school. It was a warm and pleasant evening, and they played in a grape arbor beneath the fragrant white blooms of their orchard. They had just returned home from the evening prayer service, and were stretched out on the soft ground. In that pleasant silence, they enjoyed life’s simple pleasures of rest and relaxation.

A scornful sheikh walked by, and saw the two elders drinking and talking to one another.

“What are you two doing? Drinking wine on this day of prayer?!” The sheikh demanded, hands on his hips. “For shame!”

“We enjoy what simple pleasures the gods have seen fit to bestow upon us in our long lives,” the husband said. “It would be ungracious for us to not take pleasure in what gifts we have been given?”

“And what of you, my good sheikh?” The wife asked the cleric, raising an eyebrow. “It seems to me you carry a wine flask under your arm! Is it not a day of prayer for you as much as us?”

“You two should have a mind to the future; it will not be long before you both will be held accountable before the gods for your sins!” The sheikh answered dismissively. “I am young yet, and the gods will not call me home soon. I have time yet to atone my sins.”

And so the self-righteous sheikh parted ways with the two elders and went home to drink with his wife.

The next morning he walked to the prayer hall to begin the morning services. On the way there, a rogue mule kicked him in the head, killing him instantly. Beyond the veil, the scornful sheikh was brought before the gods for judgement.

“My good sheikh, the records show that you drank wine on the Holiday of Holy Lights,” The Mother Agape said, reading from his crime-sheet of sins at the trial for his soul. “Is it not a sin to drink on a holy day?”

“It is, oh holy one,” the sheikh confirmed, mortified.

“Why then did you drink?” The god of charitable love demanded.

“Because I thought I had time left to redeem myself,” he admitted. “Had I known I would die today I never would have had that drink yesterday.”

“No mortal man can say who will live and who will die. The healthiest youth might be outlived by an ailing ancient. The gods call who the gods call, it is no man’s place to predict their will,” the god chastised him. “As a punishment for your sin, I order you to return to the earth and apologize to those elders for your hubris. Only then will I open the gates of Heaven to you.”

And so the proud was brought low. The sheikh returned to earth, apologized to the elders, and then passed on to the surreal realm beyond the veil.


Day 68 – Wednesday April 21 2021

Note: I still owe you 1 story.

Three Musicians Make a Bet

Once upon a time in the distant land, three musicians competed with one another to find who among them was the best musician. The king of that land was the judge for this competition.

“I will give the musician who pleases me my kingdom as a prize!”

The first was a harpist from Noor, whose skill with strings was legendary. As she played her instrument, she made the audience weep. The king remained stone-faced despite her skill.

Second came a teenaged musician from Tseni. He played on leather-topped bronze drums. What he lacked in experience he made up for in passion and talent. As he played, he made the audience clap along and cheer. The king remained stone-faced despite the communal excitement.

Third was a bagpiper from Hypertundria. She played ancient songs, bringing heretofore unheard vitality to them. She sang new songs as well, inventing melodies on the spot free-form. Such was the beauty of her music that the audience left the theater questioning their life’s purpose. And yet still the king remained stone-faced.

“Will nothing make you happy?” The three musicians demanded. “We demand you fulfill your oath, and give the most talented musician your kingdom!”

“I’m deaf. Your music means nothing to me,” the king answered bluntly. “If you asked me beforehand, I would have told you I enjoy singers. I can read their lips, and enjoy their music best of all. Instead you went ahead and played your music without asking me what I preferred.”

And so the king kept his kingdom, and the musicians went home, chastened. They learned the lesson that they should ask what is most needed of them first, and then act only after they’ve learned what they need to know.


Day 67 – Tuesday April 20 2021

Note: I still owe you 1 story.

Note 2: I was inspired in this story by one of Rumi’s fairy tales.

The Saint and the Skeleton

Once upon a time Saint Beatrice was walking in the wild lands between villages, healing the sick and poor who lived in the rural countryside. Halfway between the Sumpfigish Lowlands and the Morinese Highlands, she was set upon by a poacher in the woods.

“Maiden, are you not the Saint Beatrice, beloved by the gods?” The poacher demanded, knife drawn. “I demand you revive this animal! Speak the prayer to revive the dead!”

“Animal? What animal?” She asked, and the poacher pointed. They lay on the forest floor not far off a half-rotted corpse of a tiger. In life it would have been a beautiful animal, but death had made it ugly. “Why would you want such a thing revived? Are you not a hunter? Is it not your purpose to kill?”

“A hunter I am, but I hunt for animal skins,” the poacher said, waving his knife threateningly. “Bring this beast back to life, so that I may then slay it and take it’s fair skin!”

“It seems a cruel thing, to kill something and not eat your prey. Better to leave it as it is,” Saint Beatrice said.

“Do as I say or I will send you to meet your gods,” the poacher said, putting his blade at her throat.

So the Saint Beatrice spoke the prayer of resurrection and revived the dead tiger. The tiger, alive and whole again, slew the Saint’s assailant but did not eat him.

“Why would you do such a thing?” The Saint asked the tiger. “It is a cruel thing, for an animal to kill and not eat your prey.”

“Are you not the Saint Beatrice, beloved of the gods?” The tiger asked, licking her chops. “It was my holy duty to protect you from evildoers. Mayhap in death your attacker has learned piety.”

And with that, the tiger returned to the woods, leaving the saint and the dead poacher alone.

The saint spoke the prayer of resurrection again, and restored life to the dead poacher.

“What have you learned in the land of the dead?” The Saint asked the poacher.

“I have learned that one evil deed invites another in reprisal,” the hunter said, throwing away his knife. He prostrated himself at her feet. “I submit myself to you completely, ma’am. This immoral poacher is apologetic for his treatment of you.”

And so The Saint Beatrice, beloved of the gods, gained her first follower.


Day 66 – Monday April 19 2021

NOTE: I still owe you 1 story. I was going to write 2 today, but this one wound up longer than expected.

A Squirrel Fails to Learn a Lesson

Two hundred years ago, during the reign of The Golden Czar, deep in The Czar’s private forest, there lived two squirrels.

The elder of the two squirrel siblings was an industrious fellow, spending his summer days working, gathering food and tending his garden. The younger of the two squirrels was quite lax, spending dawn to dusk doing the bare minimum to eat while spending the rest of the day in his tree, drinking the best berry-booze while relaxing in the sunlight.

“You need to put away more food for winter,” the elder squirrel told his younger sibling. “Winter nights are long and cold,

“Would you relax? Winter’s months off yet. Until then, I’m going to enjoy the season,” the younger squirrel said, stretched out on his branch. “Besides, I have faith in the universe. Providence is looking out for me.”

Come wintertime, food became scarce. Both squirrels turned to their storehouses of food to eat. As snow fell, the younger squirrel’s foodstore grew empty. Cold and hungry, the younger of two squirrels was tempt to go to his brother for help. But such was his embarrassment at failing to put away enough food for winter that the squirrel refused to go to his brother for help.

The elder of the two squirrels was as thoughtful as he was industrious. He knew his brother must be running out of food, so he brought his foolish brother enough food to get by. So as to not embarrass his younger brother, the elder squirrel left the food outside the treetop den’s door, for the younger squirrel to find when he leaves in the morning.

They repeated this dance every day, of the younger squirrel failing to ask for food, and the elder squirrel providing it anyway. They passed the entire winter like this, with the younger squirrel never figuring out who was be hind the ‘providence’ gifts laid at his door.

Come spring and summer, the cycle repeated. The elder of the two squirrels went back to gathering food for winter, while the younger relaxed and drank berry-booze.

“You need to put away more food for winter,” the elder squirrel told his younger sibling. “Winter nights are long and cold,

“Would you relax? Winter’s months off yet. Until then, I’m going to enjoy the season,” the younger squirrel said, stretched out on his branch. “Besides, I have faith in the universe. Providence is looking out for me.”

And so a lesson went unlearned. The elder brother’s affection for the younger meant the younger never learned to survive on his own. Sometimes the kindest thing you can do for a person is to allow them to fail.


Day 65 – Sunday April 18 2021

No update today. I have no story ideas/it’s late and I want to sleep. IOU 2 stories tomorrow.


Day 64 – Saturday April 17 2021

The Tale of a Honeybee’s Revenge

Once upon a time, in the distant lands of Thennia, there was a farmer who grew fruits. Citrus trees, apple trees, cherry trees- he grew trees in abundance.

One pleasant spring day, as he was tending to his blooming plants, he disturbed a beehive which hung from it’s boughs. Out poured an insectile defender.

“Excuse me, good sir, would you please stop nudging our nest?” The bee-guard asked the farmer. “It is a pleasant spring day, and our hive’s workers are off collecting pollen and nectar from your flowers.”

“Foolish, buzzing thing, begone!” The farmer said, trying to swat away the bee-guard which floated around his head. “Your voice is annoying to hear, rattling around my ears like the whining of a beggar! I did not invite you to live on my land! You are an unwelcome guest here!”

“We don’t mean to be a bother. Would you please leave us alone?” The bee asked again, swooping around and dodging the flailing farm’s hand.

“Enough! Go away!” The farmer swatted the bee.

“So rude!” The insect stung him in reprisal.

“Your sting is as painful as can be! You are an uninvited guest, and also an ungrateful one! I will not have you on my land!” The farmer said, and struck the hive from the tree. “Leave at once!”

“If that is what you demand, then so be it!” The queen bee said, flying away from her fallen hive with her coterie of courtiers and advisors. “But you shall regret our departure, I swear it! The gods punish those who turn away unexpected guests. I swear no hive will ever return to your lands!”

“So much the better!” The farmer said, even as the hive flew to his neighbor’s orchard.

Floral spring passed into bounteous summer, and fruitful autumn, and with the turning of the seasons the queen’s curse came true. The farmer’s orchard went unpollinated, the branches of his trees remaining barren of fruit. That winter the farmer learned the hard lesson of humility, and to treat even the smallest of beasts with respect and reverence.


Day 63 – Friday April 16 2021

The Story of the Foolish Fisherman

Once upon a time, in the depths of winter, there was a farmer fishing in a secluded pond near his home. After many long, cold hours of labor he managed to fish up the most clever fish in the world from the depths of the pond.

“Wait, good sir! Don’t eat me!” The fish protested as the farmer made ready to kill him.

“But I must. It is in the depths of winter, and my family is out of food,” the farmer explained apologetically. “To prevent starvation, we must eat you.”

“Good sir, I promise you this! Release me back into the pond and I will trick two of my fellow fish to bite your hook tomorrow!” The fish promised. “Surely two fish are better than one?”

The fisherman agreed to this bargain, and released the world’s most clever fish back into the water.

The fisherman returned the next day, and put his hook back into the pond and waited. And waited. And waited. But no fish ever bit the hook again. He returned home emptyhanded, and his family went hungry.

There are many lessons to be learned from the fisherman’s mistake. First, it is better to eat the fish you’ve caught today instead of two promised tomorrow. Second, it is imprudent to trust a man who is willing to betray his own friends, for if he is willing to betray his friends he is also willing to betray you.


Day 62 – Thursday April 15 2021

Start 751 – Goal 1116

NOTE: I am making a change to my rules- namely the ‘write 365 words a day’ rule. As a part of my new style of writing, I’m writing a very short stories. Sometimes I want to write stories shorter than that. When I do, I now have permission to write something that short.

The Tale of Competing Gods, and One Wise Ruler

Once upon a time, in the ancient Empire of Noor, the old king died. When it came time to crown his daughter the new queen, she needed a god to become her divine patron, and ensure the Pax Deorum for the duration of her reign. So she made a proclamation.

“To all priests within the world, listen! I am hosting a competition to find the greatest god of all! Come to my palace and deliver to me the greatest present you can provide, and the divinity which bestows upon me the greatest gift I shall elevate you and your god to primacy within my realm!”

And so priests came from all around. From the alpine mountains of Pthunimia, came a saffron-tinged monastic. From the mist-shrouded Antipodal Continent came a shaman of Kezek, garbed in leather armor made from pterodactyl wings. From the distant frontiers of the empire in Yohanna, in the lands of always-winter, came a sky-clad druid as pale as the moons. And from the island archipelago off the coast of Noor, came a white-samite adorned sheikh.

It took a year to assemble the priests. When it came time to begin the competition of proving which god was the most powerful of all, the queen-to-be made all the priests swear an oath. Here is that oath.

“We will abide by the result of this competition, and agree to serve the winner of the competition as the new highest of high gods.”

Once the priests swore the oath, it bound both priests and gods. With oaths so given, the queen beckoned to the first of the priests.

The saffron-tinged monastic bestowed upon the queen a carved box.

“This is a box of duplication. If you put a coin into the box and close it, when you open it again it will contain with two coins,” the monsastic claimed. “And so my god offers you all the wealth in the world.”

“Let us test your gift to see if it is so,” the queen declared. She put a gold coin into the box, and when she opened it again there was within two coins. “A worthy gift. I wonder if any other god can surpass it.”

The shaman approached the queen, and bestowed upon her an ebon-black sword.

“This sword is the blade of war. The person who wields it will be unstoppable in battle, and their army will know endless victory,” the shaman claimed. “And so my god offers you conquest of all the world.”

“Let us test your gift to see if it is so,” the queen declared. She granted the sword to her child brother, and put him in a fight to the death against her 100 strongest warriors. Sure enough, the child slew all 100 brothers. “A worthy gift. I wonder if any other god can surpass it.”

The druid approached the queen next, and offered her two apples.

“This is the fruit of immortality. If you consume it, you will never die,” the druid declared. “And so my god offers you all the time in the world.”

“Let us test your gift to see if it is so.” She gave one of the apples to her husband, who ate it. Then using the black sword of war, she tried to cut off his head. The sword bounced off his flesh. “A worthy gift. I wonder if any other god can surpass it.”

The sheikh approached the queen, and bowed.

“And what does your god offer?” The queen demanded of the final priest. “Your hands are empty; you bear no gift.”

“My god offers you humility; the ability for you to know your place in the world and to accept it,” the sheikh answered. “My god offers the most important thing of all: peace of mind.”

“And why would I want humility?” The queen scoffed. “I rule the greatest empire to ever exist! My name is spoken from coast to coast, and beyond! I am as grand as the gods, if not grander! Why should I accept humiliation over the grand gifts offered by other gods?”

“Wealth cannot buy happiness. Conquest over others today, only invites others to conquer your children tomorrow. And to live forever is to be trapped forever in a world of stagnation and grief,” the sheikh answered. “In the end, the wise man knows the happiest thing to aspire to is acceptance of their place in the world, and trying to make the world a better place for those around them.”

The queen thought long and hard between the four gifts, and in the end decided to accept the gift of humiliation. She ruled a long time, and during her reign her realm was righteous and fruitful. She is famous to this day for her wisdom and restraint, and as a patron of the poor. When she died, she passed into the afterlife with her head held high, and claimed for herself a place of honor as a handmaiden to the gods.


Day 61 – Wednesday April 14 2021

Start 150 – Goal 515

I’m switching things up a bit. Instead of writing long(ish) short stories, for the next few weeks I’m going to focus on writing very short stories.

The Story of the Three Lizards

Once upon a time there were three lizards, born from the same clutch of eggs. The eldest lizard grew strong, and loved to wrestle. The middle sibling was long and lean, and loved to run. The youngest lizard was the runt of the brood, and grew up sickly.

“I am the best wrestler in the world!” The eldest frequently boasted. “None can can challenge me!”

“I bet I can out-wrestle you!” The middle lizard argued. And so the two siblings fought, and the eldest lizard easily won.

“What of you? Will you not wrestle me?” The eldest demanded of the runt of the litter.

“If we fight, you will most certainly win,” the runt said. “My bones are fragile and my arms short. I am no match for you.”

But the eldest brother would not be denied. He fought his younger sibling and won, breaking the bones of the youngest lizard.

“I am the fastest runner in the world!” The middle lizard boasted. “Will no one challenge me?”

“I will!” The elder lizard answered. And so the two siblings raced against one another, and the middle lizard won the race.

“What of you? Will you not race me?” The middle lizard demanded of the runt of the litter.

“If we race, you will most certainly win,” the runt said. “I am weak and tired, and no match for you.”

But the middle lizard would not be denied. He raced his youngest sibling and won, leaving the run exhausted and drained in the wilds over which they ran.

The Fates observed the boastings and cruel behavior of the three lizards, and decided to deliver unto them their just deserts. So Fate sent The Fury Who Punishes Hubris to test the lizards, and find out what they were truly made of.

One day a stranger entered the lizard’s village.

“I am the best wrestler in the world! I am the fastest runner in the world!” The stranger boasted to all who would hear. “If you beat me, I will bestow upon you exactly what you deserve!”

“I will wrestle you!” The eldest lizard shouted. So the eldest lizard and the stranger did battle, and it was the lizard who won.

“I will race you!” The middle sibling shouted. So the middle lizard and stranger did race, and it was the lizard who won.

“What of you? Will you not challenge me?” The stranger asked the runt of the litter.

“If we compete, you will most certainly win,” the runt insisted for a third time. “I am no match for anyone at all.”

“And what of our rewards?” The elder and middle lizards demanded. “We won our trials, and now you must uphold your oaths.”

“To you, the elder of three, I curse you with a shell,” the stranger said. “You will be as strong as ever, but never shall you wrestle again.”

And so the eldest lizard became a turtle.

“To you, the middle child, I curse you by taking away your arms and legs,” the stranger said. “You will be as long and lean as ever, but never shall you win a race again.”

And so the middle lizard became a snake.

“To you, the runt of the litter, I bless you with wings and the power over flame and water,” the stranger said. “You will grow big and strong, and hold dominion over the earth.”

And so the youngest sibling became a dragon.

With justice served, the stranger left town once again.


Day 60 – Tuesday April 13 2021

I’m not writing anything today. I got my first Covid vaccine today and I’m tired. Also I want to take a break after finishing my previous story yesterday. See you tomorrow.

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