In the Beginning, there was no Sky nor Earth, no Water or land, just the endless dusty wastes of the Is.
And there were the Others, who lived in the World of the Is Not, and among them were Giants and Dwarves, and those who were known as Wizards of all kinds.
Now amongst the Giants was one called Dahno, who was the greatest of all the Giants the Is Not had ever known, and ugly with heat and brightness so much that he was hard to look upon. He, however, loved the Daughter of the King of the Dwarves, who was called Swan, and was the loveliest maiden the Is Not had ever known. And for all that she was a Dwarf and he a Giant, Swan loved him back with all her heart, because though he was huge and ugly he was good within, and as kind as he was big.
And when he judged the time was right, the Giant Dahno went before the King of the Dwarves and asked the hand of the maiden Swan in marriage, for he was assured that she loved him as much as he did her, and they could find no happiness but in each other.
But the King of the Dwarves grew furious, and rose up in wrath at the temerity of a Giant to ask to marry his daughter; more so, a Giant as ugly and huge as Dahno was. And in his righteous rage he banished the Giant from his presence, and forbade him ever to set eyes on the fair Swan again.
And Dahno went from the royal presence, but he could not keep from thinking of his beloved Swan, nor she from weeping for him. And the King of the Dwarves grew disturbed indeed.
“As long as my daughter continues to inhabit the Is Not,” he decided, “we shall never be able to put our minds at rest.” If he could he would have exiled Dahno from the Is Not, but as a Dwarf he had no power to banish a Giant. So, he and his Wizard conspired and had the maiden Swan exiled to the endless dusty waste of the Is, until she should see reason and agree never to have anything to do with the Giant again.
And the maiden Swan wept bitterly, for all she had lost, and for the love of the Giant Dahno, lost forever to her in the Is Not – for not for a moment did she ever consider giving her word to her father never to think of him again. And her tears washed over the Is, and flooded over it until a mighty ocean covered all, and swallowed the maiden Swan in its depths.
When he saw this, the King of the Dwarves was in despair, and in the depths of his grief and misery, he summoned his mages and demanded of them that they save his daughter. And long they murmured amongst themselves, but at the end of it they admitted they could not.
“The only one who can save her, Sire,” they said, “is the Giant Dahno, for only he is big enough to plumb the depths of the Ocean that covers the Is.”
And the Giant Dahno came to the Dwarf King’s summons. “If you should save the maiden Swan,” the Dwarf King said, “Giant, you and she would then be joined together forever.”
“Even without this offer,” said the Giant, “I must save her, because it is meaningless for me to live when the fair Swan is no more.” And straightforward he gave a mighty leap, the kind that had never been seen among all the Giants, and came down into the Ocean that covered the Is.
And he was so tall that the Ocean came up only to his thighs; and as he strode through the Ocean, his feet stirred up the dust, which mixed with the water and formed mud, which he pushed away with his hands as he searched. And the mud plied up until it formed islands and mountains, and the water gathered to form seas. And still the Giant searched, and searched, and in the end he found the fair Swan, who was drowned near unto death.
And the Giant brought her out of the Ocean and held her in his mighty arms, and pressed her to his bosom; and the heat of his being roused her, so that she stirred and opened her eyes; and when she saw him, she clutched him to her, and wept tears of contentment, which fell on the land and sea as rain.
Then said the Giant Dahno, “Sweetheart, I shall now convey you to the Is Not, where your father awaits, for he is mightily worried about you, and has agreed to our marriage.”
But the fair maiden shook her head. “My father will never have meant to keep such a bargain,” she said. “He intends to imprison me, and with the aid of envious Giants he wishes to have you impaled, for he hates all your folk, and now that he is in your debt, he will hate you most of all.”
“What shall we do then?” asked the Giant. “Shall we hide in the Is, where there is now land and water where there was only dead dust before?”
“My father would track us down,” the maiden Swan said. “He would track us down, for in the Is there is no place for us to hide. But,” she said, “where we will go, my father can never follow, even though he can see us; and we will be together as long as the Is continues to be. And our children will be as numberless as the drops of water of the sea.”
So the Giant and his fair bride left the Is for their new abode; and below them the land and the sea brought forth plants and fishes, and animals, among whom were people who looked up and saw and wondered; and high above them Dahno swung by, his brightness lighting the day. And they called him the Sun.
At night his bride the maiden Swan passed overhead, with her cool beauty lighting the land and the oceans, and they knew her as the Moon.
And across the heavens, numberless as the drops of water of the sea, were their children, spread out like dust, from the Is to the End of All; the numberless, endless tide of the stars.
Copyright B Purkayastha 2012