How Monsters Made Mountains

A little boy sat next to his grandmother in their backyard, looking at the mountains all around them. 

“Grandmom, why are there mountains?” the little boy asked, his eyes wide and entranced in the way only children can see the world. He had removed the thumb he was sucking absentmindedly to ask his question. 

The grandmother chuckled. Her blue eyes were framed with the lines of laughter and loss, and she lit up at his innocent question. She had long, silver hair. Her skin was tanned brown like the mountains they were gazing at. She had fading tattoos all over her body, with stories for each one. She was known for her stories, and not just the inked-in-skin kind. 

“Ahh, that’s a big question, little man.” she chuckled, “But lucky for you, I have the answer.” She gathered the little boy onto her lap as she began to rock back and forth slowly in her faded green rocking chair. 

It all began many years ago. Too many years to count. Before dinosaurs, before any thing any textbook could ever teach you. The earth was quite empty. Giant monsters roamed the earth. But also giant great ones. The only difference between the two was that some wanted to build what they want and some wanted to destroy to get what they want. Where the great ones saw a playground, the monsters saw a battlefield. And so they fought. The monsters fought to win everything, and the great ones fought to save because they knew there was nothing to fight for. 

One by one, they fell. Their bodies were so great, they could not be moved. Battle, by battle, the great ones and monsters fell to the earth, dying because they both knew they were right. Finally, only one monster was left – all the others had fallen. That monster looked around and realized the truth. 

He saw the monsters fought for everything and now they have it, for there is nothing else to have – just as they wanted. He saw the great ones now have everything, too, because they have nothing to fight – just as they wanted. He, then, stopped being a monster because he knew he didn’t need to fight for anything. Now that he had lost everyone, he saw he, too, had everything all along. And now, he had everything and nothing.

The great one spent the rest of his days arranging the bodies as beautifully as he could make them. He planted trees, he dug rivers, and watered them all with his tears. He cried because he was so happy to have so much and he cried because he had no one to share the truth with. The grasses in the valleys, the great oceans, and all of the rivers and lakes came from this great one’s sad tears and joyful tears. 

When he knew it was time for his life to end, he laid down too. He was ready to join his brothers and sisters. They were no longer great ones or monsters. They were all part of everything, just like him, just like it always has been, and just like it was always meant to be.

Some say we’re all part of that last great one’s dream. That, as he lay dying, he imagined what would become of him and his people. He imagined a new people to explore them and that they would be remembered forever… Who knows…” 

The grandmother paused to kiss the child atop his messy brown hair and give him a big squeeze. “Maybe he dreamed of you to ask this question of me, so his story could go on as he wanted. What do you think?” she asked the little boy.

His little face turned and wrinkled as he thought over her words. After a moment or two of quiet, he said with his bright blue eyes set and serious, “I dunno Gramma. I kinda think God got pissed one day and just smashed it around. Prolly a few times. I get pissed like that too.” 

The child smiled with the confidence of one who’s in-the-know. 

The grandmother nodded. “Yes. Your story makes much more sense than mine.”

The little boy nodded back, “I know. Can I have a cookie now, Gramma?”




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