We have been reading creation stories lately in our family. So, in light of MG’s official name change today, I thought of this myth.
At first there was only bear and dragon. They wrestled playfully in the great darkness for an eternity. Once, though, bear grabbed dragon by the belly and squeezed too hard. She did not mean to do it. Fire poured from dragon’s mouth. This was the beginning of light and time. Sadly, the fire burned so hot that it scorched poor bear, who rolled into a ball called earth. Her bones were charred into rocks, her skin became soil. Dragon wept and his tears became the oceans on the ball of the old bear’s body. The cinders from his fire caught up in the fabric of the sky and smoldered here and there, becoming the stars.
The right eye of bear floated up and became the moon, white and unseeing, winking slowly. The left eye started to float up too, but dragon held it down. He then made an ax from the red granite heart of old bear and he used it carve a cave into the mountain. The left eye, he affixed to the entrance of his cave so that it became the door of his home. He laid the handle of the ax across the door to bar the way. It was so mighty that no one could lift it. Dragon then hid deep down in the bones of bear.
He slept a long sleep. The steam from his nostrils rose up through the rocks and became the spirit of all the living things. The sky was dark all around. Only the pale light of the moon cast faint shadows on the moving bodies of the living things below. When dragon would dream of bear, fire leaped out of his nostrils and up through the volcanoes. When the fire cooled into flows of mud, it became humans. Their fire birth meant that they could speak. They made names and they gave names to all the living things and to their own children.
These humans were accustomed to the dark. They licked the rocks for minerals and they ate the lichens that grew in the moonlight. They cared little for anything but their names. Each said that his or her name was the best in all the land. This was their way.
In truth, there was only one who had the greatest name. It combined the letters of the alphabet in the most perfect way. Everyone knew that name was the best and that he who wore that name was the greatest warrior.
It came to be that dragon awoke. He was hungry, his belly was empty of fire. And when he saw that the humans had stolen his fire to make their names, he grew terribly angry. He swooped down on the tribe of lichen eaters. But the warrior stood bravely and fought the dragon. It was an awful battle and the warrior nearly died. The dragon ate all of his name except for two letters. Only a tattered M covered his top half and a ragged G covered the bottom. Yet he had repelled the dragon. The people carried him home gratefully and nursed him back to health.
The dragon’s belly was full again, even though he had not eaten the full name. That’s how powerful that name was. He turned up to the dark sky and, remembering his old friend bear, he blew his fire as strong as he could. The fire collected seven hands above the horizon and became the sun. The way the sun rolled around the earth reminded dragon of rolling through space wrestling bear. At long last, he smiled. He went back to his cave, forgetting to close the door.
The lichen eaters, however, did not like the sun. It hurt their eyes. They told the warrior to go and slay the dragon so that all of his fire would finally die. The warrior found the dragon in his cave and they fought for over three years without resting. The warrior turned his M into a set of teeth that bit at the dragon’s back. He turned his G into a hook that grabbed at the dragon’s neck.
Finally, both warrior and dragon slumped against each other, exhausted. The dragon said, “We must make a truce.” The warrior nodded. The dragon continued, “Because it reminds me of my old friend bear, I will leave the sun in the sky…”
“But my people hate the sun,” the warrior yelled. Although, secretly he loved the sun.
“Your people will get used to it,” the dragon said calmly, “their eyes will adjust. And in return, I will give you a new name.” The dragon and the warrior both looked at the M and G, those battle-worn weapons on the floor of the cave.
“Very well,” said the warrior.
And with that, the dragon said, “I will give you my ax,” and he reached out and grabbed a stalactite from the roof of the cave. With his breath, he warmed it until it became as pliable as a cord of leather. He picked up his granite ax and the metal M and tied them together and that is how he made Max.
“Now,” said the dragon, “I will call you my son, because you are made from my fire.” And when he said the word “son” he spit it into his hand. There he held it as he walked out of the cave, dragging the terrible G behind him. The warrior followed him. The dragon then peeled a ray of light from the sun that he so loved, the sun that reminded him of bear, the sun that he had forged from the warrior’s old name. And he took that ray and tied it to the word son and then he grabbed up that fearsome G that had been so often slung across his neck and he built the word Grayson.
And this is how the warrior Max Grayson walked back to his tribe. And in time he taught them how to adore the sun.
Here we are at the courthouse after getting his name officially changed.