Little Star - a short story
"What saddens you, Arwen?" she asked, working around the musical accent that came with the Elvish language. She smiled privately as she remembered the many lessons she had been given by Lady Celebrían to help her learn and understand it.
"Elladan said I was too small to go hunting with him and Elrohir," Arwen replied, her voice muffled by the pillow her head was buried under. "I'm too small to do anything."
Faye smiled gently, sitting down on Arwen's bedside and resting a hand comfortingly on her back. Arwen's sniffles slowly subsided, and she pulled her head out from under the pillow. She turned her tearful gaze to Faye.
"Do not listen to your brother, Arwen," Faye said. "You have a brave and beautiful spirit that is fully prepared to take on the challenges of the world. You just have to give your body a little time to catch up with it."
"That still means I'm too small!" Arwen cried, fresh tears sliding down her cheeks.
Faye smiled, gently lifting Arwen into a comforting embrace.
"Naret-aluan," she whispered.
"What does that mean?" Arwen asked, quelling her sniffles.
"'Little star,'" Faye replied. "You are the little star that shines most brightly in the evening sky."
Arwen looked up at Faye, her eyes shining. Faye knew Celebrían and Elrond sometimes called Arwen their 'Evenstar.' She met Arwen's gaze and winked.
"Among my people, there was a story about a little star. Would you like to hear it?"
Arwen nodded vigorously, smiling brightly as she sat up to listen.
"In the beginning, there was land, sea, and sky, but there was no life. All the world was empty. Watching over the empty world was Father Sun, who ruled the day, and the stars, his children, who ruled the night.
Now you know that not all stars are equal. Some are bigger and brighter than others. It was the same in the beginning. The brightest stars prided themselves on being able to cast the most light after Father Sun had retired. They loved to boast and show off. The weaker stars were forced to listen and tolerate them."
"That sounds like my brothers," Arwen commented with a sneer.
"Among the weaker stars was the smallest of them all," Faye continued with a smile. "Naret-aluan. None of the other stars thought she was big enough to do anything of any importance. She was simply there, twinkling and looking down on the empty earth, the most humble and quiet of them all.
Now, as time passed, Father Sun began to realize that there was something missing from the earth. He no longer wanted to look down on emptiness. He wanted to see life. But life cannot be created so easily. For life to begin, a life had to end. So he turned to his children. He implored the largest and brightest of them.
'One of you must give your life and light to bring life to the earth,' Father Sun declared.
It was a noble deed that Father Sun was asking. To give life so life could be created. But the brightest stars were cowardly. They did not want to die. They were afraid of death. So they said no. And so Father Sun asked again, but none of his greatest children would answer his call.
'Is there any among you brave enough to give your life?' Father Sun cried.
'I'll do it.'
All the stars were stunned, for it was Naret-aluan who spoke! Little Naret-aluan, the smallest star of them all, was willing to give her life and light to bring life to the earth."
Faye paused, looking down at her apt listener. Arwen frowned.
"What happened next?" she urged.
"Well, nothing, at first," Faye replied. "Then. . ." She made a sound like wind whistling through treetops. "Naret-aluan disappeared in a blaze of light. Her tiny body, for one instant, turned into the brightest light in the sky, outshining even Father Sun. And when the light had faded, millions of tiny specks of stardust fell upon the earth. Instantly, life began to grow in the barren soil. Trees, grass, and flowers grew on the land, and animals appeared. Animals of all shapes and sizes. Some roamed the earth, and some lived in the waters, while others took to the skies.
Father Sun was very proud of Naret-aluan, and of the life that now lived on the barren earth. He declared that Naret-aluan would be remembered as the greatest of all the stars. The other stars agreed, and for many years everything was at peace."
Faye paused again, and Arwen blinked.
"Is that it?" she asked. "Is the story over?"
"No," Faye replied, humored by Arwen's eagerness. "Arwen, you know well that time is the worst enemy of memory. And time was strong enough to affect even the stars. So as time passed, the stars began to forget about Naret-aluan, and the sacrifice she made to bring life to the earth. Eventually, none of the stars even remembered Naret-aluan's name."
"That's so sad," Arwen said softly, bowing her head.
"Father Sun thought that as well," Faye said. "And as he watched his children forget, he saw the greatest stars reassert their places as the brightest in the night sky. They became even more boastful and arrogant than before. And that made Father Sun angry. He decided that the stars no longer deserved to be the brightest lights in the night sky.
So Father Sun went on a journey. He traveled to the very depths of oblivion, where Naret-aluan's soul resided, cast there mercilessly after her brothers and sisters forgot her. Father Sun found Naret-aluan, and told her that she would get her chance to shine again.
The next night, the stars awoke to a great surprise! They were no longer the brightest lights in the sky. Naret-aluan had returned from oblivion, and Father Sun had made her into his own image. The little Naret-aluan, the most humble of the stars, had become the moon."
Arwen's eyes opened wide. Faye smiled again.
"From then on, the moon was the guiding light of life on the earth after Father Sun retired, and the stars merely her aides. The stars soon learned humility, and grew to respect and love Naret-aluan, whom they named Sister Moon." Faye took Arwen into her arms again. "So you see, Arwen? You will one day be as great as Naret-aluan. You just need a little time."
"But how did your people come to be?" Arwen asked, grasping Faye's arm. "And why does the moon wax and wane?"
Faye laughed, standing and lifting Arwen up.
"That, my child, is another story," she said. "One that I will tell you when you are ready to hear it." She set Arwen down, gently urging her to the door. "Now come on. Let's go find Lady Celebrían and go on a picnic."
Arwen smiled happily and danced off to find her mother. Faye watched her leave, a smile on her face. She knew Arwen was too young to fully understand the point of the story, but Faye held true to her words. Arwen still had some growing up to do.
Faye chuckled to herself, moving to follow Arwen. It would take time, but Arwen was a bright girl. She would understand someday.