If you look up at the Heavens on a clear dark night, you will see many twinkling dots that are the stars. They seems to almost fill the sky and each one sparkles, flashes and flickers like a very precious jewel, as it tries to outdo its neighbour and attract your roving eye. Somewhere out  there, when time was just a baby, there was only one little star. It scurried around the planets, spreading its message of peace and goodwill to all. This is its story.

Llong ago before life existed here, a happy peaceful tribe lived on a much older planet than ours. Their village was in the very middle of a vast tropical forest and they were surrounded by giant trees that seemed to reach right up into outer space.

The tribe was completely isolated from any other tribe but because they lived a very simple life in leaf-covered huts, they wanted for nothing. They had no need to roam or explore, as all the fruits and animals of the forest were close at hand and their river water was pure and plentiful. The only thing that was in short supply was sunlight. The branches of the trees covered all of their land and the only sunshine that they ever saw was the few golden rays that filtered through between the leaves and they never got sun-tanned. Because they never met with other tribes, they did not realise that they were the only pale-skinned people on the whole of their planet.

One day, the wife of the handsome chief of the tribe realised that she was soon to have her baby and,  as was the custom of the tribe, she went to live with the other mothers-to-be. There, she would be looked after by the widowed women of the tribe until her baby was born and they were ready to leave.  Their large hut was set some distance from the rest of the tribe and the men were not allowed to visit the area.

When the baby arrived, the chief’s wife loved and adored her tiny infant girl. She was her first- born and the new mother devoted all of her time to feeding, washing and singing to her. She was, in turn, rewarded with wet, bubbly gurgles and blue-eyed smiles that echoed and beamed around the dark hut. It brought joy to everyone who was there. When the baby was a few months old, the proud mother returned to live with her husband and the rest of the tribe and, bursting with pride, she showed the chief their new baby.

“This cannot be my baby,” he roared in anger. “It is deformed and it makes it look so ugly!
“Look! ” he screamed. “One of its arms is short and badly-shaped. It is not my daughter, it is a child of the Devil.”

“Kill it! I never want to see it again. Take it from my sight and kill it now!”

The broken-hearted mother stumbled away in amazement at the unexpected outburst and huge tears of sorrow poured from her eyes. In a state of distress she wandered aimlessly about the village, looking for somewhere to hide the innocent child and save her life. Tormented by the way that her life had been shattered in an instant, the chief’s wife screamed, cried and wailed so much, that the huge trees of the forest shook and all their leaves fell to the ground.

The bare, swaying branches exposed large areas of the clear blue sky which saw the mother’s plight and it too became unhappy. So much so that very soon heavy, black clouds had formed and covered the sun. They then started to pour out their tears in sympathy with the mother  and before long the random drops had grown into a rain-storm. Large hailstones and sheets of rain smashed down on the fragile village, wrecking the flimsy huts and flooding the floor of the forest.

Forked-tongues of lightning threatened to burn the trees down and ear-splitting claps of thunder echoed around the heavens. The ground heaved and shook in a violent rage, as the Gods of Land and Sky, incensed by the father’s cruel words, vented their anger. Then, with one almighty crash, the ground was rent asunder to form a deep, jagged ravine and a thrashing, bashing river of floodwater carrying fallen trees and other debris, quickly smashed its way through the village and crashed into the ravine.

The tribal chief, furious that his command to kill the baby had not been obeyed, blamed his  wife for the havoc and chased after her. He wrenched the baby from its mother’s protective grip raised his daughter high above his head, shook her several times and then, with a loud, defiant scream to the gods, he hurled her far out into the muddy, raging torrent. The innocent child as if carried gently in the palm of  a huge invisible hand seemed to slowly float through the spray-filled air until she came to rest in a large feather-lined nest that was securely held in the branches of a floating tree. Within minutes the raging torrent became a smooth-flowing river again and the tree was propelled swiftly, but carefully, towards the open sea.

The tree with its little passenger safe, dry and protected from the sun by the shade of its branches, drifted and drifted. Finally, it and the baby were washed ashore upon the coral beach of one of the largest islands in a group of a thousand or so sun-drenched islands. Dark-skinned natives, fishing  in the shallow pools, soon discovered the little castaway and, as they had never seen a baby with pale skin before, they took her to their chief for him to decide her fate.

The chief stared at the tiny, helpless baby and he too was amazed at the colour of the baby’s skin and then he noticed the baby’s deformed arm. Never having seen a pale-skinned child before he immediately assumed that all pale-skinned children had a similarly-shaped arm and that this baby was no less perfect than any other of them. Then the baby looked at the fierce-looking warrior chief … and she smiled at him!

She started to gurgle and chuckle as only a young baby can and the expression on his tattooed face softened. Now reduced to being a big-softee father-chief, he smiled back and the baby’s smile grew even bigger. A look of happy disbelief washed over his face and he rose to his feet and held the baby high above his noble head for all to see and admire.

“The Sea God is pleased with us,” he called out to his subjects,”and knowing that I have five sons but no daughter, he has sent me this very special little girl to be my new daughter!
This child is now my child and I gratefully welcome  her into my family!
She is my daughter from the Sea God and I will love and cherish her for as long as I live!

Thank you oh mighty Sea God for choosing me to receive this most precious and most welcome of living gifts.”

Sadly, the lush, green islands with their abundance of fruit and wildlife were not peaceful islands, as the inhabitants of each island would constantly attack another, in short niggling raids. The fighting never resulted in outright winners, just painful, crippling injuries and, far too often, the death of several tribesman from each side. By the time that the chief’s daughter had grown to be a young woman all of her brothers had either been killed or badly-crippled in the battles.

Then, one day without any warning, her peaceful village awoke to find that it was being attacked again. However, this time it was a very serious assault by a large gang of well-armed invaders.  Led by the chief of the biggest and most-populated island, they had arrived, silently and unseen, under the cover of a moonless night. The two chiefs met in combat and the local chief was seriously injured and forced to surrender his island. The victor shaking his bloodied spear high above his head, straddled his victim and boasted to his captives.

“I am the best fighter in all of these many islands,” he snarled.
“Victory is mine this day and now I will kill your chief. Then you will be my slaves!
I will kill all my enemies! I am invincible, nobody can defeat me!”

“I can and I will!”

A calm but firm voice instilled its presence on the assembly, as they huddled together in the small clearing. It was the wounded chief’s daughter! At first, the braggart pretended not to hear  the voice of a mere woman but, taunted by the laughs and gestures of his men, he was forced to accept the challenge and they fought in hand-to-hand combat. It was a quick one-sided fight.

True to her word, using her one good arm, agile brain and nimble feet against his showy brawn and slow-witted bravado, she avenged her father’s defeat and forced the braggart to concede defeat and surrender his leadership. The news of the unusual contest and its unexpected result quickly filtered through the islands and, with the help of her disabled father, she used her newly-won fame to stop any further fighting. She quickly united the warring islands and created a life of peace and prosperity for all of the island tribes to enjoy.

When the chief died a few years later, his daughter was crowned as the first over-all ruler of the islands and she devoted the rest of her life to the welfare of her subjects. She regularly visited them, settling minor disputes and continuing the theme of Peace and Prosperity. She was affectionately known by one and all as the Sea Queen of a Thousand Islands.

When she died, the islanders prayed to the Gods of the Universe and told them about her deeds. Later, as her reward, the Sea Queen of a Thousand Islands was immortalised as the very first star. She was given the important task of regularly visiting the other planets and spreading the message of Peace and Goodwill to all.

Over many, many centuries she did such excellent work that the Gods decided that she had earned the right to rest in peace forever and created other stars to carry on her work. Her name has lived on to this very day, having been only slightly changed, by time and tongue, from ‘The Sea Queen Star’ to “The Sequin Star”.

On a clear, moonless night you may see in the far, far distance a light that appears to get brighter the more that you stare at it. If it then seems to give a glowing feeling to your thoughts, you could be seeing The Sequin Star!

The End.   talewagger

 

This story was written for the Talewagger’s granddaughter Kay.

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