People often wonder why wolves howl at the moon. Some legends claim that the moon’s lover was cursed to our realm as a wolf. He howls at her every night to attract her attention. Sadly, he has not succeeded for centuries.
A long time ago in a place not too far from here lived a Hunter. He scoured the nights in search of a healthy game. One night, he spotted a healthy doe at a waterhole. He took his aim but resolved against firing after seeing a little fawn near it’s legs. He took leave but noticed a tiger lurking near the waterhole. Overwhelmed by emotion, he shot at the tiger to save the doe and her child. His aim wasn’t true and the deadly beast charged for him instead. A hungry man’s melee skills don’t match that of a ravenous carnivore but the Hunter’s struggle for survival gave him an edge. He managed to wound the beast with his axe and it escaped into the darkness. All was in vain as it had already delivered the fatal blow. As nature took it’s toll, the Hunter was incapacitated by the loss of blood and fell unconsciousness.
The spirit of the forest had observed the course of events, She was impressed by his compassion and healed him by pouring her own essence into him. When the hunter awoke, he was mesmerized by this girl who glowed green covered in vines. He tried to touch her but it lead to excruciating pain and he recoiled. The spirit left him to wander the forest. Seeing her leave, he felt his fatigue return and passed out again. The next morning he awoke dizzy and shaken by the ordeal. The burn scar on his arm and the bloody vest were the only evidence to the event. The Hunter was never the same again, he would visit the spot hoping to glimpse the spirit. Eventually he lost interest in hunting, singing and his village. Nothing made him smile and he became obsessed with finding the spirit. He left his village and lived in the forest to see her. Months turned to years but he persevered.
Over a decade later, he felt defeated. He had no reason to live except his insatiable need to meet the forest spirit. Love is a form of energy. Without a purpose to channel it in the right direction, it’s like a bomb set to explode. He aimlessly wandered to seek a fill the emptiness in his life. He saw two men chopping a tree. In his delirious state, he charged at them like a madman. The villagers had coined rumors of a cannibal living in the jungle. The men ran for their lives, leaving the tree unharmed. The Hunter felt a strange kind of peace for saving the tree. He assumed the role as it’s Guardian, protecting it’s flora and fauna from the treachery of men. He couldn’t come to terms with killing animals to survive and resolved to eating nuts and fruits. He channeled his love for the forest spirit towards protecting the jungle. Nature rewarded him with strength, enhanced his senses and acuity. He used the forest vines and roots as an extension of himself and could easily ward off any humans attempting to defile it. He dressed in vines for camouflage and also because it reminded him of the spirit.
Healing the Hunter with her essence had wounded the forest spirit and over the course of time it aggravated . As she grew weaker, the forest started dying, the rains eventually ceased and it lead to a period of great drought. The animals migrated, crops died down and the waterhole started desiccating. The Hunter wanted to save the forest at any cost. As a boy, he had heard legends about a monk who lived in the mountains. He was rumored to have a deep connection to the spirits. After weeks of hiking, the Hunter completed the treacherous journey to the mountains. He reached a cave where he saw a frail man meditating. The monk suggested he let go of his attachment to the forest to seek his answer.
The Hunter meditated day after day over this. As he started detaching himself, he grew frail and weak. Nothing nourished him enough, his health deteriorated and in a matter of a few weeks he was ominously close to death. His spirit was too intertwined with the forest for him to let go completely. He decided against this method and returned home. The forest was decimating and he was just in time to witness it’s demise.
The Hunter was disconsolate, he was dejected for doubting the old monk’s ways. He sat under the banyan tree and meditated. He discarded water and food and concentrated on letting his love the forest fade. He recalled saving trees, scaring poachers, tending to wounded animals and slowly detached his feelings for them. He eventually ended at the memory of saving the doe and his encounter with the spirit. It took all his mettle to conquer this part of his mind. Upon succeeding, he connected with the cosmic energy of the universe. He could feel it’s energy in every atom of life around him. He sensed the forest spirit dying. He channeled all his spiritual energy towards healing her. His effort healed her, but the Hunter had used all his cards in his endeavor. It was more than his spirit could handle and death was imminent. As he lay there dying, the forest spirit returned and he died in her arms. Decades ago the spirit had given her essence to heal him and he had done the same that day. It rained for weeks and the forest slowly healed.
The villager have celebrated this miracle for many centuries since that day. They believe the forest spirit listens to their songs and mourns for him. Strangely, It always rains when when the songs end.
Inspiration: Dogs barking at night!
One thought on “The Hunter’s Moon”
If things like dogs barking at night inspired me to write a story of such brilliance, then I could have been an eminent novelist by now!
But just kidding, the story is good 🙂