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Saturday, 17 August 2013

Blog Fairy Tale Seven-The Cave Under The Sea

There was a cave which opened up under the sea. The top of the cave just peered up like a arch of stone over the water. The cave sucked water in and out, like a pump, and foaming white waves spilled over the top.  Seagulls would sit on top of the arch, as the waves would sometimes spit up fish, and the gulls would land and jump up, or pop up as the waves rushed in and out. Behind this cave, about a half a mile away, a rock formation came out of the sea which looked like a great door. The blue sea was silent and peaceful under that door, but on the rocks near the land of an island, the waves swept over the edge, angry and cold.

Antipous grew up on the high cliffs overlooking the submerged cave and the sea door. His father had been a king and he was the heir. However, none of the people of his father's kingdom had stayed on the island, leaving many, many years ago because of a drought and famine.

Antipous was an expert fisherman, and he lived alone, not seeking a wife, as he did not like “princesses”. His father, mother and two brothers had sailed away years before with the last, remaining people, only 400, in small ships and large ships. Where they had gone, Antipous did not know. He alone stayed and fished. But, fishing was hard. Antipous had to sail out into the deep and try for marlin or tuna, large fish and the only reason he could catch these was because he was like a giant.

The other peoples could not fish like Antipous and they did not like going out into the deep for days to find the big fish. At first, Antipous had caught enough fish to save the people from starvation, but the fish moved farther and farther out. Then, one day, his father decided to take all the people to a mainland which he had visited as a youth. Antipous alone remained.

He had promised his father he would marry a royal lady, but he gave up his legacy to inherit when he stayed behind. His brother, Ganymede, would take over the kingdom at the death of his father.

Antipous had never met a princess he liked. Ganymede liked many princesses and found on before he left on the second ship to leave. She was from an island which has sunk beneath the sea, and left only a handful of people in that kingdom. Here name was Typha, and she and Ganymede married the day the ships left.

Antipous did not like princesses. He felt that those daughters of kings were spoiled and wanted power, not love. So, he did not marry and waited and fished.

One day, when Antipous was out into the deep, he passed the submerged cave and noticed something he had never noticed before. A strange writing covered the lip of the cave, writing that was not the language of Antipous' own people. He moved his boat nearer the cave, avoiding the rocky bits around it and avoiding the sucking sea. Yes, there was writing, in white and blue paint, all around the edge and inside the top of the cave. In addition, fish and other sea creatures were painted underneath the writing. Antipous grew braver and used all his great strength to steer his sail boat closer to the cave.

Then, it happened.  The sea grew greedy for his boat and sucked it right into the cave. For a few minutes, Antipous was underneath the sea, barely able to hang on to his boat. Then, in a flash, he was in the cave, swimming with the vortex of the sea. Down, down he went, but his head was above the water. The cave was long and there remained a space above his head. He felt as if he was being drawn away from the island and out farther towards the sea, but he was not completely under the water. Then, in a great rush, Antipous was spun around and around by the blue water and landed on dry land. He was in a very large cave, as large as his father's throne room had been. His boat was gone and he had lost everything but his knife. He stood up and noticed that the cave had a high roof, like the inside of a forest, lined with decorations and writing.
Antipous could not understand why the cave was not filled with water Then, he noticed a river, and saw that the river was very deep, taking the sea water away from the opening of the cave and moving it farther down, underneath the beach and rocks.

Then, Antipous saw something which made him afraid for an instant. He saw footprints in the sand moving away from the edge of the beach and on into a cleft in the rocks. Antipous knew how to get back and even how to find the mouth of the cave. So, he followed the small cleft in the rocks and walked and walked. Here and there were footprints, some large, some small, as if children had passed this way.

Antipous kept moving forward and follow a small path, like a clearing. Then, to his surprise, he saw a shaft of bright light. There was a hole in the rock roof above him. Antipous climbed up the rocks and put his head through the hole.

What he saw was something he would never forget.

Antipous saw his own island, far away, like a small spot on the sea. He recognized the shape. As he turned away, he faced another island, or land he had never seen before when he put out into the deep to fish. How odd, and why had he not seen it?

Antipous squeezed his large, strong body through the hole and walked out on the volcanic rock. The rock was hot, but not painful. Then, Antipous knew he was walking on a new island, made from a volcano. But, how long ago and why had he not seen the smoke from his island.

What was more puzzling were the footprints under him now, in the cavern. He realized something. These footprints may have been made hundreds of years ago, and the people would be gone.

If no one had been to the cavern for a long time, the footprints would remain, like the writing and pictures of the sea creatures, an ancient mystery.

Antipous then realized that the volcano could have changed the island or land he was on so that the cavern may have been pushed lower, as other parts of the land were raised.

Antipous had to jump over a hot stream of boiling water to get to the main part of the land. This he did  and pulled himself up a large hill of black ash and rock, slipping and sliding as he did so.

As he looked over the edge of the hill, he saw miles of destruction, burnt trees, ash, hot mud, and lava. Beyond that, far away, Antipous could see a line of green, either grass or the tops of tress.

All of the sudden Antipous knew where he was. This was the island of Typha, which had disappeared, taking all but six humans down to their deaths. Now, it had risen again, or moved somehow so that the sea was giving up the old for the new.

Antipous ran over the hot rocks, running towards the green. It was not grass, but a strange green glass with white ball caught in it. This line of glass ran in both directions, north and south, as Antipous was moving east.

His feet hurt, so he took his cloak off and made small coverings out of the animal skin he wore. Then, he continued his running, until he found a small stream of water. It was cold and he stood in the stream, looking around him in all directions. Antipous thought the land looked like the Moon on a bright night, pocked  with holes and creases of land. He suddenly was thirsty, but when he smelled the cold water, it smelled like a strong, odd stinking thing, so he did not drink,.
Ahead of him, was a tall hill, and Antipous ran up this hill. It was colder than the other rocks and when he got to the top, he saw that the place was indeed an island. There was a bay, and a beach beyond him to the east. To the north, was his own land, small, like a line on the horizon. To the south, was island turned into cliffs of black rock and  trickling water He could see the turn of the land, and he knew that was all there was to see. Antipous sat down on the cool rock. The trees wee burnt, so he could make a boat to get back home. He would, but then, Antipous saw to his surprise, a small boat with a red sail coming towards the island from the east, into the small bay. Antipous waited and looked. He could see two people in the boat, which came quickly with the wind and settled on the beach.

Antipous had to make a decision. Would he hide and wait and make a boat to go back to his home, or would he go out to meet the two travlers, who were getting out of the boat\?

Antipous decided. He did not want to live alone any more. He would not go back. He would meet the new people.   He lifted up his large arms and waving both, called out in the common language of the area. He saw the two people turn and look at him. Both were women.

They waved back and Antious ran down the hill to the beach. The women stood there watching him. They hesitated, but stayed holding hands together as they waited.

“I am from the far island. My boat is gone. I am Antipous.”

The young women stared at him but the smaller one answered, “I am Calis and this is Messini, my sister. We came here to find two of our people who we thought may have escaped. Did you see anyone? ?

Antipous knew who these young women were. They were relations of his sister-in-law Typha, who had left with the ships so long ago.

“Did not the island disappear six years ago, when my brother met your lady, Typha?”

The taller girl answered, “You must be Antipous, the giant and brother of Ganymede. We are glad to meet you and yes, most of our people died when the island went under the waves. But now you can see it is back again. We were hoping to find some children and their nurse, my Alenti. My old nurse.”

Antipous answered, “I saw footprints under the land, in the big cavern under the sea, but no  one. Only footprints.”

“Then, we must grieve, as we have not seen anyone for the days we have returned here. The land came up just two days ago, and we were hoping...” Messini stopped. She was cyring.

Antipous waited. Then he said, “May I go back with you? From where did you come?”

Calis answered. “We came from a mainland my father found after the first tragedy.  It is a few days from here. We sail east and come to it. Some of our people survived and we live there in plenty and comfort. But, we lost so many, so many children.”

Messini continued. “You may come with us. Come and join our small remnant kingdom.”

“Are you, then, my sister-in-laws?” Antious asked. Oh, no, he thought, they are thoughtless princesses like Typha.

But, he thought, they have come to look for survivors and have been good sailors. He waited.

“Yes,” replied  Messini. “We had heard of our sister' good fortune, but for a long time, our people were weak and needed us. We have only begun to explore.”

Antipous was intrigued. “You sail alone?”

Calis answered, “There are no men left, only women. Do you still want to come with us? We could use you to help us with many chores, but realize you will be the only man out of almost one-hundred.”  Antipous was very quiet. Then he said, “I decided to go with you and not home. So be it. I shall come with you.”

All three got into the little boat with the red sail and Calis took the stern. Within a few mintutes, the wind took the little boat away from the hot island and away from Antipous' own home. He could no longer see the little strip on the horizon.

Within two days, following the stars and the wind, the travelers went east until they saw a great land in the distance. But, Messini said, “We do not land here, but go further north, following the coast until we see a great line of trees in a crescent from the shore. That is our land.” A few hours passed and the women steered the boat to the west, moving within sight of the land, but further into a large crescent shaped bay. Then, Antipous saw the line of trees, all pines, and white sand. Messini steered the boat and Calis took care of the sail until they came into a small inlet of water, which proved to be a small river meeting the sea. The women took the boat up the river, until they came to a small rough dock. There, they landed.

Antipous was amazed. A small village of huts made of reed, all round like bee hives clustered around a well and a small pen of goats. Then, he saw many women coming out to meet them, some with flowers and some with fruit. They were singing a song in an unknown tongue.

Antipous waited until the women greeted the two princesses and then walked behind them as they came into the village. About sixty to seventy bee-hive huts formed small streets branching out from the well and pen in the center

“Did you make all of this without men?” asked Antipous.

“We had to to survive,” said Calis. “We prayed and were inspired to make these huts from the thousands of reeds which grow along the river. We fish, we tamed wild goats and there are many types of fruit trees here. We found wild pigs and we taught ourselves to trap them. We eat better than we did on our island. We found bees, and now we have honey. We found strange herbs and we cook wondeful things. We found rice along the streams in the bogland. And we make bread.”

Antious stared at the women. He was beginning to change his mind about princesses.

Later that night, after a celebration dinner, the princesses told the tribe that the children and nurse were lost to them. Everyone grieved and the princesses said tomorrow no one would work, but sing and think of the lost. Messini, the older and taller princess then stated that Antipous was now part of the tribe and on the third day, he would build his own house according to their rules and chose a job to do, as they had all done.

That night, Antipous went up into the forest and slept under the tall trees. He was to tired to think, but as he looked at the constelllations, he knew this was home, and that Fate had called him here.

The next day was a quiet, singing day of mourning, but on the third day, Messini showed Antipous how to make the round reed house. On the fourth day, Calis showed Antipous how to make the traps for the wild pigs, and where the fruit trees were and the herbs and other edible plants.

That night, Messini asked permission to come into the house of Antipous.

“You must chose a wife quickly, or the women will become restless. You may choose anyone of the tribe and only one, as our customs have always been. We must keep peace and order in the village, You undestand.”

Antipous looked at the tall Messini. She was not beautiful, but she was wise and strong.

“Are  you the oldest, or is Calis? Antipous asked.

Messini blushed, “I am the oldest.”

“Then I choose you. Do you have a rite?”

“There is an old hermit who we found after living here a long time. He is not of our people, but we asked him to be the priest and religious leader, as he seemed a holy man. He agreed and we shall ask his to come into the village for some rite of marriage.”

Antipous put his hand inside his shirt and took out a large sapphire. “My father gave me this to give to my wife when I met a real princess who I could love. This is for you, my Messini. You are not spoiled.”

And, Antipous and Messini were married and in a year, he travelled out to other places and brought men to the village. In a few years, children ran on the beach and nurses watch over the babies.

Life came into Messini and she had twins. Antipous named them Ganymede and Typha.

And, Antipous called the land Messina, after his worthy princess.