Bindle: The Deep, Deep Well

From: Loren Miller (loren@wharton.upenn.edu)
Date: Fri 23 Jan 1998 - 20:51:34 EET


Here is a Bindler story that explains why the Sweet Sea which borders
Carmania is fresh water, and why the blue men came to Bindle and became
our neighbors.

The Deep, Deep Well
Copyright 1998 by Loren Miller

Long, long ago, beneath where the Sweet Sea is now, were valleys and
hills, covered with wiry grass and scrub and very small villages with
our ancestors living in them. When it would rain the lands would
suddenly grow fruitful and verdant and everything would be green with
bright colors, but for most of the year it was dry and bleak with few
colors other than dusty gray and sandy white.

One time there was a terrible drought in the land. Ohgg had no food
for his wife Ozergges and his children Ahz and Erzedergg. He had no
water either. Even the vultures had left for greener hills.

That day Ohgg left his home and walked for a day towards the sunrise,
and it was dry and bleak. He walked home, very tired and
hungry. Ozergges frowned at him, and Ahz and Erzedergg went to sleep
crying, after sucking on pebbles for their dinner.

The second day, he walked for a day towards the left arm of the sun's
path [Bindler traditional storytelling term meaning South], and it was
dry and bleak all around. He walked back home, empty handed. Ozergges
was most unhappy, and Ahz and Erzedergg sucked on pebbles again, but
they were growing gaunt.

The third day, he walked for a day towards the right arm of the sun's
path [North], and it was dry and bleak all around. He walked back
home, empty handed. Ozergges cried sad, sparse tears, and Ahz and
Erzedergg drank their mother's tears for the water. Ohgg watched his
children drink the only water any of them had seen in many days.

"I cannot go on, Ozergges," he said. "It is impossible. There is
nothing to eat or drink in all these hills and valleys."

"I have no more tears, Ohgg my husband," she said. "You must find
something in the land of the sunset or your family will surely
perish."

The fourth day, he walked for a day towards the sunset, and it was dry
and bleak. He was too tired and weak to walk home. And even if he had
been able to, he was sore afraid to see the hungry, thirsting, sad
faces of his family, the family he had disappointed so far. He looked
for a place to shelter himself for the night, and right as it became
very dark he found a cave. He fell asleep in the cave mouth.

During the night he had a dream that he was visiting a beautiful
castle. It was constructed of pink and orange coral, and shining
sapphire towers loomed above shaded gardens which were full of
succulent plants and bushes with many bright berries on them. Ponds
swam with golden and silver fish. The people of the castle were dark
blue in color, almost black, and of various fabulous shapes. Some were
tiny with very long, pointed noses. Others were large and covered with
scales. Others were middle sized but had extra pairs of arms or
legs. Some had tentacles. Some had scaly wings. Some had very sharp
teeth or clawlike hands. Some had the body or head of a water-serpent
or a fish or an alhaeham or an elshiogg [mythical creatures]. They
welcomed him with arms open wide, and brought him into an enormous
dining hall set with hundreds of courses of food, and set him at the
middle of the table and told him to eat his fill.

He said, "What? You treat me with such disrespect? You will not sit
with me?"

Then many of the blue people came and sat at the table.

"What?" Ohgg said. "You have put me in the middle of the table,
instead of near the head as is proper for one such as me with many
descendants!"

They moved him to the seat at the right hand of the head of the table,
the seat of highest honor for them.

"Now that's right," Ohgg approved. You have done well. And he picked
up a fine crystal goblet to drink of the delicious water in it, but
when he looked in the water as his lips touched the edge of the cup he
could only see reflected in it his wife's eyes which had cried tears
to feed his starving children.

"I cannot eat," he said. "My wife and children and all my people are
starving." Even in Ordohsar [Bindler name for the Dream World] he
could not eat when those who were his responsibility starved.

He got up to leave, and as he did he noticed where there had been
no-one before a handsome, dark-eyed, blue-bearded man who was the king
of these people was at his side at the head of the table. The king of
the blue people looked sad.

"I am Yehggerng, king of the blue people," he said [In Bindler, his name
means Wise with Hidden Truth, and signifies one who can see the future].
"We are trapped in this place. We have been here since my father's father's
father's father's father's time and five score more generations than that,
since we were banished from the lands of the sun. Now we have all these
things, but we can no longer see the sun, nor the moon, whom we would
worship, nor all the wonderful things of the world. Will you free us?"

"If you can share your bounty with my wife and children and people,
then yes," said Ohgg to the sorceror king of the blue people. "Will
you promise me that?"

"Yes. Our gifts will wash over the entire land, cleansing it of the
drought that plagues you now," said Yehggerng.

"There will be more water then?" asked Ohgg.

"Yes, more water," answered Yehggerng. "There will be a fine well!"

"And you swear that we will all be able to live together in this place
in Hehb [Bindler name for the mundane world]?" asked Ohgg.

"Yes, you and yours shall have all you need to prosper and so shall I
and mine," replied Yehggerng. "When you awaken, you will see a swift
magic boat, and in the boat will be a long oar and beside the oar will
be a spade. Take the boat and set it outside the cave with the oar in
it. Then take the spade and dig in the cave below where the boat had
rested until you strike water. A well will begin to flow and you
should then take the shovel with you and the magic boat also, and ride
the magic boat home, for it will carry you over these desert lands."

On the morning of the fifth day Ohgg awoke and the sun was shining
right into the mouth of the cave. It illuminated a boat sitting five
strides away. Ohgg went to the magic boat and saw an oar and a spade
withing, and he dragged them all outside. He took the spade and with
the last of his strength began to dig where the boat had been. He dug
for one hour, two, three, four, and after five hours of digging a very
deep hole five times five times his height, for men were much stronger
and faster workers in those days than now, it was noontime, the sun
overhead baked the dry, desert air until it wavered like a still pool
of water, and five times five fathoms deep in the hole in the cave in
the desert Ohgg's spade turned over a stone and water splashed on his
feet.

The water came out swiftly, and Ohgg drank it gladly. He felt strength
returning to him, as the water reached his ankles. He drank. As it
reached his knees he felt his endurance returning. He drank. As it
reached his waist he felt his secret knowledge returning. He drank. As
it reached his chest he felt his reason return, and then he knew that
he should drown if he didn't climb out fast. He reached out his hands
and feet and began to climb up the well like a spider climbing a
chimney and scrambled out as swiftly as he could, just ahead of the
water. He pulled himself out of the well in the cave in the desert
just as the first water began to spill over the lip of it, and dashed
to the boat carrying his spade. He jumped in the boat and said, "carry
me home."

Just at that moment the water came roaring out of the cave and it
swept under his boat and lifted him up on it. The water came more and
more swiftly and it spread out in all directions, carrying Ohgg on the
crest of the first wave. Ohgg was frightened at all this, until a
beautiful, fat pike danced out of the water and into the boat.

"If you eat me it will all be well," it said to him.

You might not believe it, but he ate the fish gladly.

At home, Ozergges heard a distant roaring sound, and she looked south,
east, north, and saw nothing. Then she looked west and saw a huge wave
of ocean washing swiftly, thundrously towards their little home. She
gathered Ahz and Erzedergg and took them to the roof right before the
wave came and picked up their cottage. Beautiful silver and blue pike
leapt out of the water into their hands and they gave thanks and ate
the fish.

Soon enough Ohgg came by and saw his little house floating on the
water and his wife and children on top, and his heart was happy. He
took them into the boat, and they rowed for five times five days until
the water stopped rising, and then they found shore and built a new
home there.

And ever since then we Bindlers have lived on the shore of the Sweet
Sea, which came from a well in a cave in the middle of a desert. And
the Blue Men have lived in the Sweet Sea and in many shapes in the
water and in the caves nearby. They are mysterious and tricky and
sometimes dangerous, but without them we would be starving in a desert
land.

The End

Some basic Bindler vocabulary to go along with this story
=========================================================
arrow ahshurz
battle arggaig
bear uhg
beautiful hordahse
beloved ohgu
best urzurl
better ihfaiz
bitter ahsihfih
blessed yaibedaf
boat aisarg
brass hisherzeh
brave ahbohsuh
bridge hurgguh
bright yurzaduh
bull ahlihf
castle ais
cave yorshahfor
child urzaiferg
club aimuh
compassionate es
constant arm
coral heborl
cottage us
daughter erzedergg
divine aigozaigg
downward haiggar
dream aizorg
earth uhzurf
eastern erdargor
falcon urzizegah
farm ohdef
father ohgg
fish ohb
flower yihmah
fluid aggihgg
fortress ohsh
frightening urg
ghost ihfaid
gold ahshormas
hilltop ihb
insect uhfez
large hasharmorsh
lion orshol
man ordorsh
many shaped ahbargg
meadow os
memory urggerdai
middle size ug
moon orl
mother ozergges
northern ezohferb
old ehbebah
owl oggih
pearl ohdarm
pet aggohgg
precious stone arfil
public knowledge hormahlahf
raft usharg
refreshing ergg
river mouth heg
rumor ehshahsh
secret edaif
serpent arlerbor
shell ihf
silver abehs
sky aiggof
small esedahl
son ahz
southern ohsehgagg
spear orb
stone aidahdehd
strong uhborf
sun hubershoh
swimmer uhderl
sword hailahgg
tide ehdihf
truth, evil ahb
truth, good udahzars
truth, hidden ezi
twin urf
ugly arshegg
upward urgarg
valley yuhzehgger
water ahbuhluhl
wealthy uduhso
western ohshihg
wet hohf
wind orsohs
wise ehg
woman yeg
world, dream ordohsar
world, gods' ohdohf
world, imagined ohm
world, mundane efihgg
world, other erggafo
world, spirits' yerf
world, watery ihf
worse yegesuh
worst ililah
young ohl

- --
+++++++++++++++++++++++23
Loren Miller <loren@wharton.upenn.edu>
Applying computer technology is as easy as finding the right
wrench to hammer in the right screw.

------------------------------


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Fri 13 Jun 2003 - 23:01:43 EEST