They say he was there when the gods made the world—and he would have offered to help, except that they looked like they had it in hand. So he sat in the absence of reeds and played on the absence of a flute, and where he dawdled those things came to be.
The gods took the credit of course—that’s what gods do: they make things, and tell you to worship, and never worry about where they got the idea. They say, “Aren’t I clever, I made a horse.” And yeah, they made the bones and the muscle, the blood that pumps through the horse’s veins. But that feeling you get when you ride a horse through a meadow in the sun-that comes from him.
And on the sixth day, when the gods had done most of the work, but before they could bicker over what was whose, he played them a lullaby, and they slept through the seventh day.
They take credit for that, too, as if the sabbath were their idea.
And while they slept he danced in the world and played his music there, and the notes of his pipe made the wind beneath the wind, hidden underneath the wind you can hear and feel. If ever you feel a breeze on the hairs of your arms when no wind blows, now you know where it’s from. That’s why he still walks in the world, when the gods cannot.
It’s better this way. The world is unfinished, and good people suffer—sometimes a lot. But if you die in a snowstorm, you die in a snowstorm—you don’t get turned into salt because of somebody else’s squabble over who created squid.
This is why we sing in churches, and why we rest on the seventh day—it may be why we sing and rest at all-because of the man who stole the world when the gods were almost done.
© 2008 by David Sklar
First published in Membra Disjecta: Scattered Thoughts, edited by Deena Fisher, 2008.
Reprinted by permission of the author.
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