Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sweet sixteen, an American folktale

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall SEE GOD"
This is a fairy tale about Kirsten. Not the doll, but a real, live girl, now grown into a young woman.
When she was little, all sorts of things were said about how cute and special she was. "Could she be any cuter…" was a typical comment. When she was a little older, people started saying:
"Oh, you have your mommy’s BIG Beautiful eyes." Older still: "Oh, you’re going to be skinny like your daddy." But there was one really strange thing about this otherwise perfectly normal girl. She had never seen a mirror! All she knew about her appearance was what people said about her. Her mommy and daddy told everyone: "Keep Kirsten away from mirrors, and shiny things where she might see herself." So, everyone did.
One day Kirsten was taking a walk in the woods, all by herself. The trees formed a great, dark canopy overhead, but she felt perfectly safe, as if in the most beautiful cathedral in the world. She came to a small pool, mysteriously still. There was a large flat rock along one edge. Kirsten thought. "Oh, if I stood on the rock and looked straight down, I could see myself! My beautiful, blonde hair. My big eyes. And how trim and healthy I look. Dare I? DARE I DO IT? I shall!"
So, looking all around her to make sure no one would see what she was doing, she stepped onto the rock, curled her toes carefully over its edge, and looked down. She saw something in the pool. "It must be my reflection, from head to toe!" But…..
There was no blonde hair, but a billowing cloud of very dark hair. Eyes, but not at all like her mother’s. A large, boldly shaped nose. The figure was very broad, and very very tall. "Is that what I look like???" She asked aloud in surprise. To her utter amazement, a deep, soft, kind voice answered. "Yes, it is, because YOU look like ME!"
"And WHO are you??" she shot back.
"I’m the One who made you, and I made you in My Image"
"But you’re a man! And I’m not! ‘Cause, well, I just had my period, you know …."
"I know everything about you"
"You do?? Well, you’re a man and I’m not. Tell me about THAT"
"Thank you for asking. I’ll try to tell you as much as you can understand in this life. First, I’m NOT a male of the human species. No testosterone, and, trust me, none of the relevant anatomy."
"I trust you, I trust you! But go on…"
"Well, I’m not the ‘way up there, won’t touch the earth’ kind of God that other religions talk about. So I had to allow you to imagine me in human form. Androgynous would NEVER do; too different, too impersonal."
"So, why aren’t you a woman! What’s wrong with us!"
"I thought about that for a long, long time. But if I was a big, powerful woman, people just wouldn’t get it. Especially the guys. Trust me, please. But you do resemble me, really, in all the ways that are important…."
"Oh." (Pauses) "But….there’s still one thing…""Yes, my child?""Wait, I figured it out"
"You were going to say that I’m holding a shining sword in my left hand, and you’re not left handed?""Yep…..until I remembered—you’re a reflection."
"Actually, you are reflecting ME, but that’s a story for another time…."
…..suddenly there was a brief, intense flash of light. Kirsten blinked, looked down into the pool, and straight into the big, dark eyes of the most beautiful, blonde 16 year old in all the world. A pure, white rose rested gently in her hand.