By Baby Kat Snophlake
Long, long ago when there was no desert and the frost island of Flanoir was still young, there lived a young man named Kratos who traveled the world. When he came upon a village he requested lodging in exchange for his services. When asked what skills he had, Kratos would reply, "why, I can do just about anything that you need of me!" For one village, he blew his breath across a field of corn stalks, blowing all the ears into the nets he had set up on the other side. He saved the villagers so many hours of work that they had a feast in his honor that night.
The next morning he had set off on his travels. One day, he came to a small village called Triet in the middle of a forest and asked the village elder for lodging. When asked what he could do for payment, Kratos said that he could do anything that they needed.
"Well," said the village elder. "It would be nice to have a lake closer to us where we don't have to fish water from this dying stream anymore. Would you be able to help us with that?"
Of course Kratos nodded, puffed out his chest, and said, "of course I can help you with that! I'll dig a huge hole, fetch you some water, and you'll never have to worry about it again!" So Kratos found a clearing very close to the village and stood in the middle of it. He stamped his foot and the ground shook, sinking low into a hole big enough for a wide plentiful lake. Kratos climbed out of it and set south for the ocean beyond the mountains.
He picked up water from the oceans, carrying it upon his shoulders as he walked back through the trees, and he dropped the water right plop into the hole he had made. Then he left to tell the villagers about his handiwork and was rewarded handsomely with a soft warm bed and another fine feast. Kratos spent the night and traveled the next morning.
As he walked, he came upon an old man on the path. The old man smiled a toothless grin and said, "my, you are quite strong to carry so much water from the ocean."
"Yes," Kratos said, bowing. "As a matter of fact, I can do anything. Is there anything that I can do for you?"
"You are quite helpful, young man." The old man said. "But I'm afraid there's nothing anyone can do for me."
"Are you sure?" Kratos asked. "I can do anything, if you need help, surely there must be something I can do for you?"
"Well, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to try," the old man agreed. "You see, I recently acquired a field with so many weeds and overgrowth that I couldn't hope to get rid of them all myself. I hired some young boys to pull the weeds for me, but they all returned to me saying that weeds wouldn't pull and I have no way of removing them. I've tried a scythe but they grow back way too quickly. If you'd be able to help me, I'll greatly appreciate it."
Kratos nodded. "I shall try. Where is this field?"
The old man took Kratos off the path to a large field covered in so many thick weeds it looked more like the weeds were the solid ground. Kratos stood at the edge of the weeds and grabbed one, tugging with all his might… but for the first time in his life, his strength failed him. He could not pull the weeds from the ground. He tried pulling a different weed with the same result. Already, the old man was shaking his head and sauntering away.
But then, Kratos had an idea. He picked up a stick and pointed it at the sun. As soon as the stick caught fire, Kratos ran the stick along the weeds, poking them until they were all engulfed in flames. When the fire threatened to breach the field's borders, Kratos filled his lungs with air and blew the fire back. It was with this tactic that Kratos burned all the weeds within the field, but the fire was enjoying its feeding.
"Young man," the fire spoke to Kratos, "I was born from the sun and I did as you bade me. Grant me life so that I may live longer."
"A long life is not for a flame to live," Kratos replied. "You have done your job, now it is time to sleep."
But the fire would have none of it. It fought against Kratos's breath to reach its thin fingers out beyond its border until a spark landed upon a blade of grass. The old man stamped his foot upon the spark killing it. Seeing this, the fire recoiled, allowing Kratos to keep it contained while it pondered a new plan.
Then the fire had an idea and instead of standing against Kratos's breath, the fire decided to work alongside the wind and several sparks flew beyond the field's border. With the fire out of the control, Kratos abandoned trying to use his breath and instead ran for the lake he had created for the small village. He spoke with the village elder.
"Please, allow me to borrow the water that I have brought you. There is a wild fire and I will bring you more water from the ocean after that fire is vanquished."
At once, the elder agreed and Kratos picked up every drop from the lake and carried it to the wild fire. He threw down the water in the center of the blazing field, drowning most of the base, but it wasn't enough. The fire was burning faster and hotter, spreading its fingers out to every tree and bush that came within its grasp. The old man hurried to the village as well and pleaded with the villagers to flee.
Kratos, meanwhile, ran to the ocean for more water, and carried an even heavier load on his back. He ran back and forth several times, dropping water on the fire, but the fire was way too big for him now. He couldn't carry enough water to drown it.
The fire cackled, "Mere human. I heard you boast about being able to do anything and yet you can't snuff my life! I will happily feed on this valley until there's nothing left!"
At that Kratos stared at the fire and hollered, "You will not live forever! I'll drain this valley of trees and you'll have nothing to feed on!" And with that, Kratos ran to the northern part of the valley, grabbed the grass by the roots and began rolling the plants like a bedroll into a long coil. As soon as he reached the southern part of the valley, he picked up the roll of trees and plants and threw them to the bottom of the ocean where the fire couldn't get them. Now all that was left were the rocks, sand, and pebbles left behind.
The fire reached for anything that would burn but came up empty-handed and quickly burned itself out.
Kratos stood in the middle of the still burning sand and looked around. The huge hole was still there with all the villagers had been cowering within it, but were now emerging to see the damage. Their homes were still standing but they had no shade, no food in the fields, and no lake. Kratos retrieved more water from the ocean to fill the lake and a couple palm trees that wouldn't catch fire unless the flames fell from heaven. Then Kratos fished the ocean to fill the lake for food until the crops would grow back.
The old man sauntered up to Kratos and declared, "You really can do anything! You destroyed an entire forest and created a desert!" A fact that Kratos was reminded of every time he traveled the sands of Triet. While he continued to help others, he learned not to turn his back on the elements either. The next time a fire requested life, he granted it, fearing the awesome power the fire would have otherwise.
About the Folktale: Before Efreet was born, the desert used to be a beautiful valley of trees, fields, and life. Until a certain Ancient Hero came along and screwed it all up. This is why one must show respect for all things, living, inanimate, and the gods as well. When you show respect for these things, you avoid much trouble that should come if you aren't more respectful. This story was passed down by the villagers of Triet, but oddly originated with a scop who answered a curious young boy's question of why Triet is the only place where grass won't grow. Everyone knew about Celsius freezing Flanoir. Now everyone knows how the Triet Desert came to be.
A/N: Sorry it took so long, I was really stumped about what to write for him and then I read a couple Ozark folk tales and got an idea. hehehe...