Part 3. The First Gift and The First Trial
And, after five years had passed, when Weo had grown into a pretty five-year old girl with long red hair in braids; just as the goddess had promised, she came to visit the child Weo with a gift and a challenge.
The goddess appeared, not as an infant rabbit this time but as a puppy dog with wings and the puppy held the gift within its mouth; a silver helmet, covered in gold, five-pointed stars and the puppy laid the helmet at the feet of the five-year old Weo.
“Weo”, spoke the dog who was the goddess in earthly form, “This is the helm of Marzel; the helm of stars. It was the helmet of an ancient hero of this land, the Wizard Marzel. The wearer possesses knowledge of all the magical secrets of the universe. The wearer has an eye into the mind of the goddess and is therefore omniscient. Whatever question you ask, the helmet will give you the answer but with this gift comes a warning”.
Weo picked up the helmet and rotated it against a ray of sun because she liked how it glittered. “What warning”, she asked, not fully aware of the seriousness of things.
“Knowledge can be power; knowledge can be joy but it can also be great sadness. Use the helmet well; ask the right questions and do not become mezmerised by the darkness; always keep one eye upon the stars”.
And, saying this, the puppy winked its right eye and vanished and Weo put on the helmet and at first it was wonderful and her head was like a flower opening and her eyes wandered among the stars and saw and heard and felt everything; all the wonders of existence; all the beauty; all the joy and love; kindness,magic, courage, ingenuity and all the greatness of nature.
But then a bit of darkness caught her eye and then she could not take her eyes off of it and it grew and grew until she forgot the stars and saw only all the sadness, misery, cruelty, poverty, death,greed,sickness and deception in the world. It seemed like a mountain of suffering pressing down upon her heart with its peak and she couldn’t bear to look and took off the helmet and threw it away and began to sob into her hands so much that her tears poured through her fingers.
And Homa, or what resembled Homa, saw how Weo was weeping and her face red and bathed in tears and she asked, “ Weo, my darling; what can have happened that has hurt you so much”.
And Weo told her mother all that had happened and Homa, or what resembled Homa, shouted angrilly at the goddess, “Oh, Goddess. I thought that you were kind”, she yelled, “How could you inflict such a thing upon a five year-old girl. What about her blessed innocence” and Homa, or what resembled Homa, was about to pick up the Helmet when the helmet cried out, “Weo; this is not your mother. She is a changeling; an impostor, sent to steal the helmet”.
And, hearing this, Weo snatched hold of the helmet and placed it back upon her head and she saw the true face of the changeling and knew, in an instant, that her real mother was at home, baking and the changeling grew angry and turned itself into a ravenous, rabid wolf with glowing, dark-red eyes; snarling from foamy fangs and ready to pounce upon Weo but, luckilly, Weo was wearing the helm of stars and instantly knew a mental spell to summon up a flying fireball and the fireball shot out of Weo’s thumb and struck the changeling dead.
And then, with the helm of stars in one hand and a spring flower in the other, she ran back home to be cuddled by her real mother and, when she felt safe within her mothers arms, she told Homa everything.
“Oh, my poor girl”, said Homa, startled by it all, “I don’t know what to tell you, except that the goddess is the very heart of love and mercy for every living thing is a part of her flesh and every one that that suffers or dies is a knife in her”.
“Don’t worry. You need only hold me in your arms mother”, said a wizened Weo, “Innocence is a fragile impostor, a soap bubble round your heart, but love, wonder and dreams; these are the real essence of youth and they are invulnerable to destruction or decay; they put armour of steel around your heart ”.