The Boy and the Beginning.
AN: Another chap, this one was one of my favs to write.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to its creator, mentions of the other fairy tales and stories, movies, anime, comics and manga in the fic are the properties of those who created them.
Story Lexicon so far:
Normals: non-magical people and things notioned/made by them.
Rush/Rushing: using magic.
Lifting: levitating/telekinesis of objects
Abnormals: beings or things that is magical.
Sizing/sized: shrinking and enlarging.
Flame, Flaming- creating fire.
One Way Omnilingualism: given to him by Mari, he can understand any spoken word, but still has to learn the language to speak back and be understood.
Happy Feet Curse- Given to Harry, it is an artificially created magical inheritance that bestows the ability to turn almost all enemies into penguins and in most cases permanently.
Bubble making/Body Bubble: conjuring magical bubbles in general and creating bubble-like structures that protect Harry while he travels.
Extremity Explosion: comes out in a moment of high stress, more accidental magic really, rarely used. It was inspired from Iron Man.
Chapter 12: The Boy and the Spider.
Harry was relieved when his aimless flying over the vast stretch of hilly, and sometimes mountainous, tree tops gave way to a large cleared area were a peaceful village of locals was going about their business. It didn't take him long to figure out, while sneakily listening in on a small class of students having a geography lesson, that Harry was in Africa, more specifically, 25 miles along a smaller river that fed into the larger river which in turn fed into Lake Volta (1) in the country of Ghana. Harry was understandably surprised that he had ended up so far from his original location. He had not only traversed from the Canary Islands over the Atlantic and into Africa but there were a couple of countries between Ghana and his last location as well!
Harry was uncertain if this was a result of that red light (which he later called Extremity Explosion) that had propelled him from the Hidden Place of the Sleeping Man, as he had come to mentally call it or perhaps something inherent in the place itself, or both.
Either way, Harry wasn't too bothered after he got over the initial surprise, and decided to continue with his plan to explore Africa since he was already there, and forget his initial plan to explore Tenerife.
Harry understood that the men of the village often took goods for trading or generally visiting other places by using the rivers as the main thorough-fair. Harry figured that when he was ready to leave, he could simply follow the men during the next expedition down the rivers until he hit an area that had a library and/or large market for knowledge and supplies.
Further, since he figured that he was going to be in Africa for a while, it being the world's second most largest continent in the world (1), he thought he would stick around the village to familiarise himself with the local flora, fauna, customs and language.
He'd come to miss his little forested home in Brocéliande, so Harry decided to stick around for about a week or so and leave with the next expedition.
During that time, Harry watched from the trees as the villagers went about their day to day activities.
Some of the things that fascinated him were how the villagers dressed.
While there was certainly a prevalence of recognizable western attire such as khaki slacks, jeans and suits, it was the rich variety of colours fond in the traditional dress of the women and the Kenti cloth and other pieces that caught his eye (2).
Kenti cloth is mostly hand-dyed, hand-woven and hand-sewn with designs that have a story with a proverbial meaning, which gives each cloth its own distinction. The colors, just as vibrant, also had symbolic purposes. Harry was fascinated with a cloth that could hold such complexity and he enjoyed watching it being made by adults sitting at a horizontal treadle loom fingers moving with smooth ease through strips measuring about 4 inches wide as they were sewn together into larger pieces of cloths. As one man moved fluidly through the motions, back and forth, he related to a youngster, which Harry overheard from his position on peeking down from the roof of a clay bricked building, that the Legend has it that Kenti was first made by two Akan friends who went hunting in an Asanteman forest and found a spider making its web. The friends stood and watched the spider for two days then returned home and implemented what they had seen (3).
Harry was also fascinated by the dances.
The whole area would be filled with the sound of djembe drums as well as goje fiddle, koloko lutes, and log xylophones, though mostly drums. One particular dance he had witnessed had a procession of men on their drums with a single man following them with a flute, their tune happy and energetic sounding.
After them a procession of women in their Kenti dresses would proceed in a line behind the men waving their arms from side to side before they all eventually filled the centre of the village and the women would take centre stage so to speak as a lead singer would be echoed by her fellows and they would clap as they sang. At one point during the dance the women would dance in a loose circle, the proceeding and following woman would twirl and bump backsides and so on and so forth. Then they would eventually form a loose horizontal line and one by one go to their knees as the music picked up tempo and their arms swinging back and forth, smiles on their faces, some even laughing. One woman would then dance down the line of other women being joined by the men on their instruments with the women returning to their feet and dancing in a line again while the musicians stood in a loose group beside them then the women eventually danced around them. Harry later learned that the dance was a form of game for the women and girls in the village. (4)
The main staple foods in the village as in many other areas of southern Ghana, included millet and sorghum as well as yam, maize and beans were also prevalent, and as Harry would latter observe, are used across Ghana. Harry was partial to the yams (really partial, he was beginning to enjoy them almost as much as fish), especially when they were served with fire roasted fish from the river. He also loved watching the Fufu being made, another local dish, as the women would pound with vigor at the yams and plantains with an energy and strength that was rather awe inspiring and applied as they would make dried cassava powder for food like Konkonte (another dish), as well as Fufu. (5, 6, 7)
Ooo ooo ooo
It was Harry's 5th day in the forest outside the village, eating a roasted fish when he met the spider.
It started innocent enough.
Harry had wanted to explore deeper into the woods, curious about the various abundant plant and wild life that were in evidence, though he did hover some ways off the ground to avoid some of the more aggressive looking predators.
He'd set up camp later that evening, figuring that a night away from his temporary home base (up a tree about a mile from the village) and marvelling at the exotic sounds that filtered through his ears, when a deep timbered voice suddenly sounded in his ear.
"A little boy, a foreign boy with skin as white as the moon, all alone in the big wide trees, how fortunate for me."
Harry leapt away, practically leaping over his small fire, and landed on the other side in a crouch, body turned to face the encroaching stranger.
Only to stare, in horrified amazement.
There was a spider sitting across the fire.
A really BIG spider.
It looked roughly the size of Mr. 9 Privet Dr.'s Volkswagon Bug. Only this particular bug looked far more threatening.
It was a shadowy grey colour with darker stripes along its large abdomen and had sharp ivory colored pinchers tipped in black and eight large reddish-purple eyes staring at him from its fury bread loaf shaped head.
Now, while Harry had heard that exotic spiders could grow pretty large, he was pretty sure the scientists had not been talking about spiders this big.
A spider that can also apparently talk.
"Now, now," the large spider chided, "where's your manners? I have joined your camp and I sit around your fire in company and you haven't even offered me some of your food?"
Harry, feeling distinctly surreal, felt the manners that his Aunt Petunia hammer into him kick in and he tentatively passed a skewer with a just finished fish on it to the spider who took it daintily with one of his eight hairy legs.
Harry, unsure of what to do while the creature nibbled (and there was a sight to see!) upon Harry's fish except turn to his second bowl of seasoned yams.
By the time that the both of them were done, the spider demanded.
"That was hardly a worthy meal for such as I little Moonskin."
'Little wonder,' Harry thought dryly, as his fear began to disappear when he realized he wasn't about to be killed, kissed or otherwise possibly maimed, 'The git ate part of my supper, and its portions were for one person, not a person and a great large arachnid.'
"Since I am your guest, it is only right to compensate me with something," the spider continued, "it is only polite after all."
Wary now, Harry frowned. He knew from some stories that when a supernatural being asks some unwary soul for something, it can sometimes lead to extremes such s losing one's soul.
"Um, I don't have much," Harry said slowly, "what is it you…er, wanted?"
"Well, it's a simple request really, I merely want your story."
"Oh," Harry relaxed; all he wanted was his story? Well that wasn't so bad, "Well, that's fine then. I guess my story begins on Privet Dr…"
Harry talked for a long time relating his life at the Dursley's then finding out he was Abnormal, his growth in power, his travels so far and the people, both Abnormal and Normal he had met, and the things he had done and seen until he finished off in the present moment.
"…and then a great spider appears out of nowhere, eats fish, and asks me for my story, uh…the end I suppose."
There was silence for a moment as the spider digested Harry's tale along with said fish ('I'll eat an extra one tomorrow' he promised his tummy) and finally gave a few satisfying clicks with his mandibles.
"That was indeed an excellent tale, you have been leading a very full life so far for one so young."
"Well, glad you liked it," Harry replied, standing up and dusting his knees as he set about breaking down camp. The spider watched him and didn't say anything more until after Harry said.
"Look, it was pleasant company and all, but I got to be heading back…"
"Oh no," the Spider interrupted his awkward good bye, "I'm afraid you have it wrong."
"I do?" Harry asked, with a frown.
"Hmmm…yes, look down if you will," Harry obliged and looked down, and spied for the first time what looked like a large glowing spider web thread that was wrapped around his ankle. Harry tugged on the thread, growing alarmed when it didn't budged.
Harry was then subsequently yanked off his feet and dragged upwards until he was eye to eyes with the grinning spider (again another sight to behold).
"You see dear little Moonskin, a story is never ending really. From the great beginning, and only until nothingness reigns supreme again, everything is a part of the grand story of existence, an anthology if you will. Your personal story is perhaps one of uncountable chapters in that story, and that chapter is not over until you cease to exist from the memory of existing thing, even after your life ends, and since you agreed to give me your story, you are bound by your word to remain with me until it is finished."
The large spider laughed, pleased by his own trickery and the little mortal's struggles to futilely try to fly away, "that's the thing about magic you see, which you carry in plenty, a promise by one such as yourself, to one such as I, even without the pomp and circumstance of the oaths like what you shae with the Skyrider, is as potent a binding as any chain man or god can conceive of."
Harry eventually stopped struggling, letting himself be slung on the large spiders back, and be carried off. Struggling was pointless, and when he tried to focus on rushing, he found that his magic seemed to not want to be cooperating if he even thought about directing it against the spider. Harry surmised that this must be what the spider meant about binding promises.
Harry made a mental note to himself that if he ever got out of his situation he would be careful about any promise ever made, even idly, for the rest of his life.
What he needed to do now was think, after all, he had brains right? He may not be a genius, but he was reasonably sure that if he applied his brains he could get himself out of this situation.
Then after some thought an idea came to him, a crafty thought.
"You certainly got me good Mr. Spider sir," Harry praised, "I bet someone as grand and smart as you could do anything."
"I have had ages to perfect my brilliance," the spider replied, preening, "I have out witted many human, magical being, animal deities and spirits, and even the Sky God himself…ah yes, now there was a tale…" the spider reminisced fondly (8).
"But surely such a great being as yourself would not want someone as lesser as I. I am just a boy after all, a simple boy with simple ideas and simple accomplishments. Compared to you, I am but flotsam to your ocean of deeds. My story is not worthy to be your possession," Harry stated with a sad tone.
The spider stopped in his tracks as he considered the boy's words.
"It is true that you have not accomplished deeds that are worthy enough for my grandeur, but you are still young, and your story will have time to ripen as you age."
"But if I am constantly by your side, great spider sir, and nowhere else, my story would not be very interesting for you as nothing much is likely to happen. A good story needs struggles and accomplishments, which I can't get for my story if I am constantly by your side, as you obviously have no need to worry about struggles, as you are already so perfect in what you set out to do, and any accomplishments that would come my way you have already heard and likely become bored by it."
"You have a good point Moonskin," the spider conceded. The spider pondered a moment, and then gave a satisfied nod. The spider lifted the boy from off his back, and set him on his feet.
"You are right in that you need to experience struggles that cannot be found by simply remaining by my side, so I shall send you out to accomplish certain tasks, your struggles to accomplish them will ripen your story indeed."
"That is true, great wise spider," Harry simpered, "I wish that I had thought of that," the spider preened again under the adulation, "But…no, it is to presumptuous for one such as I…" Harry's voice trailed off in tantalizing tentativeness.
"I am the great Lord of Stories, I will say if it is presumptuous, finish what you were going to say child," the spider commanded curiously.
"Well, as I said before, and you yourself pointed out earlier, stories require struggles, which you have thoughtfully considered and said you will provide Lord of Stories, but without the possibility of accomplishment, even if I were to fail, wouldn't the story be lessened for only the struggle without possibility of reward?"
The spider agreed, and again pondered the conundrum before he declared magnanimously.
"Then a reward you shall have Moonskin, you have only to name what you want such as riches, fine foods, grand palaces and beautiful women or men, when you get old enough to want such things."
"Freedom," Harry stated clearly, "let it be the ultimate desire of all beings be the reward."
"That is true," the spider conceded grudgingly, he also had been the one to offer the boy anything, he had not stipulated anything but the boy's freedom, still, it wasn't like the boy would succeed, he was quite crafty after all, "Very well. I shall give you a task, a chance to earn your freedom that you must complete. Should you succeed you shall earn your freedom, but should you fail, your story is mine. Do you agree to the terms?"
"Agreed," Harry intoned. Now that Harry knew to look for it, he took notice of the sudden warm weight on his being, as though an invisible blanket had been put on his shoulders, and judging by the twitch of the spider's mandibles he too had felt it.
"What shall be my task great spider sir?" Harry asked, and feeling it couldn't hurt, bowed his head, which mollified the spider somewhat.
"The task will be relatively short," the Spider intoned, his wily mind quickly thinking of something that the boy was not likely to succeed in.
"In three days' time, just as the sun sets, you must stand before me with a wife."
"What?!" Harry squeaked, but noting the smug look, managed to control himself as the spider continued. "I shall even be generous, and take the form of a man and stand upon the outskirts of the village-I am assuming you will be choosing from the village not to far from your original camp?"
"Good. Go forth then little boy," emphasizing little boy, "and see if you earn your freedom."
Harry was relieved when he felt his Rush fill him as he quickly took to the sky. The cord that bound him to the spider stretched and followed him, but its unsubstantial nature made it easier for Harry to ignore it, if he didn't look down upon it, and focus on what he had to do. He would have been tempted to fly away and never return if Harry didn't suspect that it would be a breach of their agreement, and he wasn't keen on seeing what would happen, but how was he supposed to get a wife? In 3 days! He was just a kid after all, and while he didn't know much about romance, he somewhat suspected it took adults much longer than that to get to the alter.
The spider meanwhile congratulated himself on a well thought task. There was no way that a mere boy who had not even undergone his ceremony of passage into manhood yet, a foreign boy at that, would earn himself a wife within a mere 3 days! He wandered off in high spirits whistling a little tune to himself (and there was again a sight to see!).
Ooo ooo ooo
3 days later…
When the time was up, the spider god was, as he promised standing outside Harry's chosen village awaiting the arrival of the boy with his bride.
He even took on the form of an old distinguished man as not to seem threatening.
The last of the rays were just minutes from setting when the boy came rushing up towards him skidding to a halt.
He was about to crow his success at beating the boy with such an impossible task when over a rise burst a regal matron with good strong arms and full body dressed brilliant blue with gold designs and a blue and gold head cloth.
She to skid to a halt in front of him.
Seeing the richness of his fine cloths, she bobbed her head in respect when she caught sight of him before turning her attention back to the boy.
"Here I am great spider sir; I brought you a wife, just as you asked."
The spider stared. The woman was clearly old enough to have already had several children of her own already, and yet, this boy had managed to woo her and marry her in 3 days?!
"And did she come with you of her own accord?" he asked suspiciously. The boy did have magic of his own after all.
"Oh yeah," the boy reassured with an easy grin, "she was the one chasing me after all."
The old man's eyes nearly bugged out of his head. The boy's new wife had chased him? What sort of silver tongued charmer was he?!
Then the woman, who had been quiet up to that point out of respect for the old man and confusion as to what was being said as the boy was speaking in English and she did not understand English, but then finally grew impatient and expressed her renewed anger by slapping the boy upside the head and let fly many insults.
"By the great sky woman! You dare strike your husband!?" he exclaimed, somewhat shocked at the woman's disrespectful attitude with her own husband, even if he was a little boy.
"I would never do such a disrespectful thing in my life!" the woman gasped, insulted, "my husband is a good man and I am a good wife and good woman!"
"But you just struck him!" the old man retorted, pointing at Harry.
"And he deserved it! The little devil!" the woman seethed, her fisted hands slamming to her ample hips, "this foreigner, probably from a camp down the river, sneaks into my home and takes all my best pots."
"Your best pots?" the spider disguised as a man echoed, confused.
"Yes!" the woman exclaimed nodding her head in grievance, "He then further increased his offense by putting them on the roof of my house! The little devil then had the audacity to wave at me as if it were all harmless fun and not my best pots! So of course I gave chase! This boy, unlike my husband, deserves to be slapped upside the head! That his mother didn't do it sooner I will never know," she cast a very scathing glare at the boy, before giving the old man a stiff nod and flouncing back to the village proper.
"Are you going to just let your wife treat you like that?" the spider exclaimed, "though I can't really blame her…"
"My wife? She's not my wife," the boy exclaimed with artfully wide eyes, "why would I have a wife? I'm only a little boy!"
"If that woman is not your wife, then who is she?" demanded the spider.
"She's some woman whose pots I stole briefly and put on the roof of her home," the boy answered easily with a shrug.
"Then you have failed in your task!" the spider crowed victoriously, "for you did not bring me a wife by the appointed time!"
"Actually," the boy corrected politely, "I did succeed."
"But she is not your wife!"
"Nope," the boy agreed, "she's definitely not mine, but she is a wife. 5 years married today, with 3 kids too," then the boy gave the spider a disturbingly pleased smile, "the task you set me was to bring a wife before you in 3 days time, and I did! She even did it of her own accord to! After all," the smile stretched further, "you did not say that I had to be married to her, just that I brought you a wife, not my wife."
The spider, the great god of stories and trickery had just been outmaneuvered by a play with his own words!
Then clakkity sounding laughter filled the little glen and the spider banged his old human knees in mirth.
"Well played little Moonskin! Well played" with a flick of his finger, the bit of glowing webbing that surrounded Harry's ankle as a symbol of his binding, dissolved, "you have earned your reward. Your story is yours once again."
Harry let out a whoop and immediately leapt up into the air. He paused, before he flew away though, his gaze thoughtful as he looked down on the old man spider.
"You know," Harry called down, "instead of entrapping unsuspecting folks for their stories, why don't you go out into the world and make your own? There are a lot of stories more interesting than my own out there, I'm sure, all you have to do is write your own within them."
With that, Harry rose up, up into the sky, disappearing into the clouds and off to his camp site for a good long nap.
Ooo ooo ooo
The old man smiled slightly as he turned and went back into the forest, the human form melting away to reveal is regal form and he mused out loud into the leaves and the wind.
"This is my story which I have related. If it be sweet, or if it be not sweet, take some elsewhere, and let some come back to me." (9)
Ooo ooo ooo
A/n: 1. Actual geographical locations/information, 2. The dress was derived from mentions on both Wikipedia and travel documentaries of Ghana, 3. Kenti Cloth, information derived from documentaries, Wikipedia and a few misc. websites, 4. Actual dance that I watched on a youtube video, the dance is called the Tora Dance, traditionally common to the area from what I understand, 5. The preparation methods were observed on a documentary about local life for villagers in Ghana it really is quite interesting to watch, they are some strong women!, 6. FuFu and Konkonte are actual common dishes to the country. Referenced from Wikipedia and misc. websites, 7. Things like the yams, maize and other items mentioned are agricultural staples of the area, Wikipedia and Documentary references, 8. From African Mythology, any tale with the trickster god Anansi and the Sky God such as how Anansi gained all the stories in the world. You will find a link to this on my profile page, you should check it out, it's quite good, and inspired some of the chapter, 9. A traditional Ashanti way of ending a story.