On the island…
A preface to the story of the Sun baby…
The Sun Baby
Prior to the story of the Sun Baby, the story of the mother of the Sun Baby must be told. This is how the Sun Baby was born.
Some years ago in the north part of the world, there was a family of a mother, a father and eight babies, though they were never babies all at the same time for the eldest was some twenty years older than the smallest one. There were four boys and four girls and they all had dark hair and pink noses. Well, one of these children, one of the girls, the one in the middle, was quite a silent creature. She had the blackest hair of them all and, though her round nose was blushing like a tomato, her skin was brown and dark. Well, she went from child to woman in the cold city, and was always good, never naughty. Such a hard worker she was, and so well behaved to the point of repression. There was just one thing that she couldn’t deny, though it is often in the nature of human kind to choke and deny that which resides within. But this one thing just wouldn’t rest inside, and it was a good thing really. Unfortunately, this thing made people quite angry. The people in the city did not want the girl to let this desire within creep out. No, they preferred repression and conformity. Some people were different, but they must have been too afraid to say so. For the powers that be could be terribly frightening, and the people would not want to incur their wrath. Instead, they embraced the girl and kept their empathy secret, underneath their dark eyelids. But the girl could see their kindness and she kept a note.
Well, as she had refused to deny her wishes and desires, the thing inside, the girl saw she had but one option. That was to leave her country and people and move far from where she had come. Otherwise, the immortals would punish her to almost certain death.
So she ran far from the north and made a new home on a beautiful island whose sea was blue and sparkling like jewels and whose sand was white and soft like clouds. Here, the trees were strong and fruitful, with a light and soft bark, the insects gorged themselves on the sweet, sticky gold that the wood produced until they were dark and hard and shiny and sang so loudly that the birds in the sky could hear. The hot hard mud and sands were peppered with black and green tangy fruits that loved so much to grow on the island, and when the warmest months came and the sun rose so high, high up in the indigo blue sky, the ground was scattered too with the drying discarded skins of the singing insects, as they burst out with new, youthful bodies, blacker and shinier than ever.
Well the girl came to live here and she became a woman, and soon enough she found a lover and started to allow a little more happiness. No longer did she contend with the displeasure of her people, nor the consternation of the great watching eye above. Of course the immortals did not cease to see her upon her island, no, but they were contented to turn a blind eye. For it was not the woman herself who angered them, but rather the disquiet that she could not help but bring to her people with her unsuppressed desires.
Soon the woman desired to have a child, and her lover agreed. She had a small baby boy and though up until now the powers above had let her live in peace, as the cries of the newborn son rang through the golden heavens, some of the immortals became angry once more. There was a rift among the gods, most of whom did not want to punish the woman further, but some of whom thought that exile was not enough. As they argued above, the skies turned deep black and blue and roared with thunder. The rains began and lightening struck down upon the land and seas below. The clouds collected purple and the sun was hidden by the noise of the heavenly battle.
One immortal, Tondra, the most vengeful and angry of all, was impatient and arrogant and wanted to take matters into his own hands. He was aggravated at the tumult that one mortal woman could cause, and he just could not control his ire. Whilst the conflicts between the gods burned on and the rains continued to pour down on the lands, Tondra concealed himself behind the clouds and reached down to the island, snatching away the glowing baby boy. He wrenched him from the woman’s mothering arms and held him tightly in his powerful grip. Though the woman’s lover tried to comfort her in her despair, there was nothing to dampen the pain that had been caused by the severing of her child from her breast. Her sorrows were unceasing and Tondra took her son and drowned him in the river of her tears. The woman and her love were sent into a period of great mourning and sadness for the loss of a child is the worst of tragedies. The woman was very strong though, and some years later she had another child, a baby girl. Yet, Tondra retained his hold and drowned each and every child that the woman bore. They were all drowned in her salty, blue tears.
By now the thunders in the ciel had subsided and most of the immortals had forgotten the story of the woman on the island. Yet one remembered. It was Ouro, goddess of fertility and spring. She was extremely angry with Tondra. So terribly angry. And so she castrated him and made known to all the immortals his devious and cruel acts.
Ouro was very beautiful. Her skin and hair were golden like the sun, glittering and warm. She wore armour made from the jewels and shells of fruits de mer at the bottom of the ocean, and around her neck she wore a necklace made from warriors’ teeth and fish tails. She was so strong and beautiful; her eyes were like amber and her hair like silk. And she was extremely strong. Resolute and courageous-a strength that could surpass, without question, armies of Titans. Well Ouro was angry and felt so terribly sorrowful for the woman. She decided to intervene and bent down through the fluffy clouds to reach the small island where the two women were living. She spoke to the exiled woman in the night. She kissed her on the lips and promised that the next baby to be born was to be protected.
The night was hot and sweet and the woman woke up from her sleep, crying, with tears all upon her stinging rousse cheeks. The tears dripped and dripped onto her clothes until she was wet through. The sun was beginning to show itself at this time. He was starting to burn the ants on the grasses and sands below, and to tickle the surface of the seas. The woman rose from her bed and went to bathe in the sea and washed away the tears and salt from her skin. Then she lay with the water stroking her hairs and skin, the green and blue coolly touching and walking over her body as Ouro ascended back to the skies and harnessed the sun to warm the woman’s bones.
After times, the woman grew so big in her belly and every night her lover rubbed crushed geraniums on her stomach. And there was no sign of Tondra or his hostilities.
When the spring came, the baby was born. She was a girl and she was the Sun baby. When she was small and new, she cried so loudly that the heavens above could hear, and Tondra was angry and confused. He burst through the clouds and tried to snatch the baby away, but he did not succeed for as he grabbed a hold of the baby girl, he was blinded by her shining, golden skin. His head split and he dropped the Sun baby from his tight fist, letting her float down towards the ocean. Ouro observed these events and took him away from the earth, catching the falling child as she did, so as the Sun baby would be protected and saved from drowning. The Sun baby was at once rescued from death at sea, and stolen from her mother as Ouro took the child in her arms. The woman on the island was mournful once more, watching the goddess disappearing to heaven, taking with her the child. Yet she was grateful that her little girl was saved. And grateful too that the Sun baby lived.
The city maze leading you…
…can you find the way?
Down by the river.
An illustrated (and most likely terribly inaccurate) map of Penkhull, Stoke-on-Trent, from my memories…