Cahuac and the Bees
A Myth from the Cahuac Cycle
Hear, O Children, of the eldest of days when the world was yet young and the dew lay still upon the ground, of a time when the shadows from the dark places stalked the People.
In those days, the earliest that we know, in the past so distant that they are beyond the numbers of the sands on the shores, the People dwelt as one. Mighty hunters they were, who feared not the shadows, nor the dark places from which they crept.
Mightiest of them all was great Cahauc, he of the People, yet not born of the People. Child of the fairest maid of the Sky-Plains, She of the Silver Moon, he was gifted to the People in the hour of their darkest need.
As a child he was gifted, and like all young he grew, yet he was unlike any other child of the People. Tall and strong he became, mighty and fair to behold, the splendour of the shimmering moon resting upon his brow and his voice like unto soft music that drifts ephemeral through the night should he wish, or unto the rolling thunder that crashes its majesty across the plains. In all things he was the most skilled, yet he turned not to pride at the works of his hands or tongue, giving freely, for all he did was done for the People.
Upon the day of his coming of age he journeyed far at the behest of his mother, She of the Silver Moon, questing in the dark places and daring even to wrest from the grip of the shadows weapons of power. Many were his deeds and long were his journeys, yet they remain deeds to be sung another day.
Now it came to be that the rains returned once more to the lands of the People and all things again flourished, all but for one. For the flowers that had graced the earth like the very rainbows of the Sky-Painter were no more and the lands were without colour. Yet with them being no more, the bees could no more bring forth their bounties of the golden honey upon which the People did feast.
The People mourned long for the loss of that sweetest honey, and in their anguish they cried out to Cahuac of the Moon-Graced brow, mighty Cahuac, most skilled and wisest of us all.
“O noble Cahuac!” they cried out in loud and weeping voices, “Most wise of us! The bees that once blessed us with their golden nectar, that which is sweetest of all, do so no more and we know not why.”
“People of the Aracan,” spake Cahuac, the plains booming as with thunder at the echo of his voice, “These are sad tidings that you bring unto me. Long have the bees gifted us their nectar. But do not despair for I shall go unto the Great Bee and ask as to why the honey is no more.”
Cahuac took up his weapons, those that he had wrested from the shadows in dark places. A spear he carried set with a blade of deadly bright bronze that shone like unto Sun in his glory, whilst the haft was of dark wood that could be neither burned nor broken. A knife too he had, of stone as black as the deepest night, and unto its edge all things parted as if they were but mist.
Long did Cahuac venture forth and far he did travel, and his passage was like unto the roaring of the very storms themselves. Yet wherever he did venture, he found that the bees no longer produced that which brightens the eyes.
In time he came at last to the farthest parts of the world where grew the Endless Tree. Within its hollows dwelt the Great Bee, the Queen of all Queens, vast and ancient, first of all bees. It was she who first came across the secrets of honey and shared them with her bountiful children.
“O Great Queen,” Cahuac spoke, his voice ringing amongst the high branches of the Endless Tree. “I have come far to ask why it is that your children no longer produce that which is sweetest of all and brightens the eye.”
And the Queen of all Queens answered in a thousand voices. “My children can no longer sing that which is sweetest of all, for the colours of the lands have faded and the life has gone up from them. Yet, mighty Cahuac there exists still, in one last place, the colours of the lands, in the High Places, yet they are beyond our means to reach and bring forth from them that which is sweetest of all.”
“Then I shall journey to this place and return the colours to the land, even if the journey should last unto a thousand lifetimes,” brave Cahuac pronounced.
Yet the Queen of all Queens knew not where the High Places lay.
And Cahuac pressed on, to the place of the Eagles that dwell aloft in the heights, for of all things it is they who are keenest of vision.
“Noble Eagle,” Cahuac called out, his thunderous voice echoing amongst the heights, “I seek the High Places where still the colours of the lands bloom and grow, for without them the bees can no longer sing that which is most sweet to the lips. Have you, with your keen-eyed sight, seen them as you soar so high amongst the Sky-Plains?”
Then did Eagle speak. “I have, brave Cahuac, and this place you know full well, for by your hands was it brought forth in the days when Sun did not show his face and journeyed far from these lands.”
Fleet of foot Cahuac set forth once more, journeying the long and wearing paths to Tatochec, the Pillar of the Sky that reached to the very roof of the world itself, and upon whose towering heights Cahuac had done battle with wayward Sun.
Once before had Cahuac braved the terrible heights, and once more did Cahuac make to ascend it. The winds howled and tore at him, and sharp edges reached out to strike at him, yet unwavering he was as he climbed until at last he stood atop the roof of the world, and the lands were spread out beneath him.
And bright were the colours of the land that bloomed before him atop the roof of the world, like unto the rainbows that He Who Paints The Sky causes to shine when the wild storms have passed. Thick they were clustered and heady was their perfume that overwhelmed the senses, for this was the garden of Sun himself, wherein he rested each night from his long journey across the Sky-Plains.
Now noble Cahuac could have but plucked the blossoms he needed, yet he did not, for he was not one to take that which was not his. So there he waited, atop the roof of the world itself, waiting for the return of He Who Burns.
Then did evening fall and from afar did the Hunter of the Sky-Plains see Cahuac atop the Pillar of the Sky, and across the sky he sped.
“Twice now you have ascended the Pillar of the Sky, and the fires have not consumed you, and once more shall you come, at the end,” burning-eyed Sun proclaimed. “Why have you climbed to the High Places, Cahuac of the Aracan? For what reasons have you risked the fires that devour?”
“Noble Sun,” spake Cahuac, and in his voice there was the lamentations of the People, “I come not for myself, but for all the peoples that dwell in the lands, and even the beasts as well. The colours of the lands are no more, and the bees can not sing that which is sweetest to taste and that brightens the eye. I come to beg of you that you would allow us a small portion of your gardens to restore the lands, so that all will be as it once was.”
And Sun did laugh, and the sound was like unto the roar of the campfire in the dark of night, and there was warmth there akin to them as well. “This I shall allow, Child of the Lady Moon, for you came neither for yourself nor as a thief to take that which was not yours. How though do you plan to return the colours to the lands?”
Then did Cahuac cry out in a piercing voice that rung throughout the corners of the world, and lo, Noble Eagle came to him on swift wings. “Friend Eagle,” Cahuac did say, “Will you carry these blossoms and spread them across the lands so that colour returns to them, so that the bees can sing once more that which is sweetest to the lips?”
“It shall be as you ask,” Eagle did reply, and thus he took up the blossoms in his claws and bore them aloft, and as he travelled upon his broad wings, the colours did rain down upon the lands, and once more they did brighten it. And the bees did once more sing, and that which brightens the eye did flow forth again.
Then did Cahuac, mighty Cahuac, bow before Sun and depart. Down from Tatochec that brushed the sky he strode to return to the waiting People.
Many were his deeds and long were his journeys.