The Mother and the Valley

By Seth Isaac Everett Contributor

There once did live a Mother and her two babes in a grand castle at the center of a great valley. The valley, in its vast openness, found joy only in throwing itself into sudden frenzy and deliberate rage. What the Mother needed, the valley would provide for sparingly. And what the valley would provide always came with a condition.

“I will give you a heel of bread if only you could fix my castle windows, for my storm has shattered every pane of glass,” the valley would say. The castle that the family of three occupied was large and hollow, and held little more than what was required for survival. The Mother would work away at the request of the valley to repair any damage it had done in exchange for provisions. With babes slung on her back, she labored away for their sustenance.

The valley raged and roared without reason or rhyme. Each bout of wrath grew more severe than the last.

Upon completion of her tasks, the Mother always asked, “Great valley, must your storms be so near to the castle and my babes?” The valley was quick to anger and this did broil its emotions ever so much. It would shriek back, “Am I not the one who delivers you the wealth of my land? Am I not the one who protects you from the beasts of the night?”

“Forgive me, great valley! I forget my place,” the Mother would reply. The provisions granted the family of three were always meager, but the Mother had a plan.

At a moment's notice, the dry dustiness of the valley would be overcome by raging storms and violent whirlwinds. The Mother, concerned for her babes, asked the valley, “Dear great valley, will you not grant my babes a blanket capable of weathering your rages, for they are ever so gentle and I would surely despair without them.”

The great valley considered her request, replying, “The babes shall have such so that my rages may swell!” and swell the valley’s rages did. The Mother now worked harder while her babes were kept swaddled in the gift of the valley, protected.

The valley raged and roared without reason or rhyme. Each bout of wrath grew more severe than the last. The castle became decrepit and ravaged from the valley’s outbursts. “I gave you the blanket so that your children may survive my rage and yet you lack in your duties!” howled the valley.

The castle was in shambles. The Mother, in her great efforts to maintain it, could not keep up with the wanton rage of the valley. “Forgive me, great valley, for I am weak and need more provisions so your furor may reach its crest,” said the Mother.

“My wrath knows no bounds!” the valley responded. “You shall have the provisions so that my rages may last for days and nights.” And last for days and nights the valley’s rages did as the Mother and her babes kept themselves strong with the valley’s food and water.

The castle, nearly reduced to its foundation, was too much for the Mother to keep up with. “Great valley, for your provisions and protection of my babes I am immensely thankful,” she said. “But these bricks are all too much for me to carry. Is there not a gift you may give so that I may be quicker to assist in your fury?”

The valley halted its rage. “I give to you a sack from which whatever you place in it becomes endless in quantity, so that the bricks you lay may be readily available to you.” The Mother replied, “Thank you, great valley! Now your boundless rages may know no end.”

And end the valley’s rages did not.

Storms boomed and tore across the land. It was then that the Mother slung her babes close to her breast and shielded them with the blanket. She stowed her provisions in the sack and the quantities became endless. She rushed away to escape the valley. The valley roared and rumbled after her, but to no avail. It could not touch them, for the blanket provided protection. It could not starve them, for their food was unlimited. The Mother ran and ran as the howls and shrieks of the valley fainted behind her.

Only when the dry dustiness of the valley became a lush and vibrant hill range did the Mother slow her pace. Streams, plants, and animals of great variety populated this rich land. The Mother, with her knowledge of building and maintaining a castle, did construct for herself and her babes a marvelous little cottage. The land, within its ample collection of flora and fauna, harbored no single voice for the Mother to answer to. She and her babes became a part of the land and thrived with it, even improving it. The valley raged alone. It remained isolated amongst its rubble pile of a castle, forever.