Part 3: HIRIKI AND THE ROAD SPLIT IN TWO
When Hiriki had first left Semazen to take the royal infants to Nonakdow, the road had not seemed so long or lonely but, on his return journey, the same road now seemed to have no end of milestones and he felt incredibly small and alone in his little, trundling haycart like a beetle crawling across an enormous trunk. “Oh Goddess”, he asked, “It cannot be wrong for me to go home to my beloved forest. If you had intended me for the life of a lion then why did you raise me up a thief? If you wanted to grow an oak tree then why did you plant a weed? Why have you given me the wrong ambitions and prepared me for the wrong fate? If you had wanted me to live a noble life then you could have told me sooner”.
“The fortunate grumble while the desperate
scream”, said the Goddess, “Since you were a boy you have dreamed of becoming an important man and now I am making one of you”.
“An important man? You mean wealthy and powerful?”, asked Hiriki.
“I mean, a doer of good, a bringer of light, a protector from harm and a savior of lives.There are none more important in this world than
those”, replied the goddess.
“If such people are so important then why are there so few of them and why do those few always end up with their heads cut off?”, asked Hiriki, “I’ve already said, I am no lion”.
The Goddess said nothing in reply but suddenly, infront of Hiriki, the road split into two roads, one leading into a land of light and joy and fertility and peace; the other, leading to a land of darkness and cruelty and suffering and despair.
“What is this?”, asked Hiriki, “I have never seen a fork in this road, is this some kind of illusion?”.
“These are two possible futures”, said the
Goddess, “The road which leads to light is the future which you brought into being through your heroism and your goodness. In that future, Samegusha is dead and his children rule with kindness and fairness and your land is a happier place and people remember the name of Hiriki with fondness and gratitude but the road which ends in darkness is the future which you brought about by doing nothing and by turning away from the plight of others; in this darker future Samegusha has plunged the world into an oblivion of horror and hopelessness. The dark, parasitic gods who made Samegusha powerful, now rule over all corners of the globe and they have expunged every spark of love, hope, courage and decency from humankind. Humanity has turned into the cruellest kind of monster, devouring itself to feed the demon spawn and, when Samegushas demonic patrons have gorged themselves full upon the tears of humanity they will crack their corrupted world like a rotten egg for their own dark amusement”.
“Is there no third road? No possible future that lies in between?”, asked Hiriki.
“Evil will not allow it and so Goodness cannot”, answered the Goddess.
“Well”, said Hiriki, “Because I do not want to choose the evil road then I will choose the road of goodness”.
“That is good enough”, said the Goddess and Hiriki saw the two roads reunited into one again but, rather than Semazen, the road now lead through an unknown land; a land of desert sands, howling winds and baking sun.