It was thousands of years before today.

The world was cold and covered with cracking, violent, fire-spewing things. It was very cold and very hot all the

time, but never in between.

The ground was grey and dull and flat. It was all one huge stone, or so it appeared; it was lifeless. It was not

entirely lifeless, but mostly.

On the Earth there resided exactly ten people, no more, no less. They were not quite people; they did not

understand; they did not have creativity or anything of that sort. Well, somewhat, but never mind.

There were shallow lakes filled with clear water at first, but in years' time turned beige.

The people somehow survived by drinking this dirtied water and doing basically nothing else.

By the way, there were no trees.

Obviously, trees are supposed to come before human beings on your average evolutionary timeline. But this is no

average ordinary timeline. It's a myth, remember?

At this point, not a single one of the ten people inhabiting the Earth needed anything more than a cupped handful

of water a day. And yes, they were all for some reason immune to its contamination.

I forgot to mention a very minor, unimportant detail. Pathogens do not exist in this nonexistent era, nor animals,

nor ANY plants or otherwise living creatures. Only ten human beings inhabit the Earth. Besides them, there is only

water, stone, air, and fire (which they haven't discovered yet, by the way).

Above Earth was a very, very different story.

Olympus was thriving to such a great extent that it was scary. The gods and goddesses, name who you will, were

in the height of what I'd call their careers – although they really weren't doing anything yet. As these ten petty

humans merely marked the beginning of Earth's time (I know that humans didn't exist when the Earth was first

created! I don't care about your opinion), the gods considered them too inconsequential to even consider.

At this point, the gods were really there for no reason, as they were supposed to represent and protect specific

things on Earth, and at this point, this wasn't necessary. What, after all, is the purpose of guarding something

inanimate, such as a volcano? Well, actually, that was Hephaestus's job; he will prove quite important in this story,

but forget about him for now. Those lovely, lovely things called trees didn't even exist yet, and nobody cared about

the humans, supposedly.

The ten humans, out of a lack of anything better to do, began to quarrel gently amongst themselves. Let's just

assume that they spoke Greek or something like that, as little sense as it may make. But then again, this myth

doesn't make any sense either.

Technically, they really had nothing to quarrel about, so what did they do? They compared each others' strength,

beauty, etc., and began fighting about it. This started out verbally, but eventually it became a bit more than what I

would describe as a "gentle quarrel".

Limbs (not the tree kind) were broken. Noses became deformed, and one of the female humans proclaimed that her

nose looked prettier that way, leading to yet another violent argument. (Let's say that the gender stereotyping that

came in ancient times did not exist at this point.)

Then there came the climax, sort of. Two of the male humans began to lift progressively heavier and heavier stones,

and when they could not declare the strongest, they began literally screaming at each other. One of the humans

thought that he COULD declare the winner – himself, of course – and picked up one of the larger stones with

unusual ease, then flung it around and around in a circle, finally letting go – similarly to the hammer-throwing sport

at the Olympics nowadays. The huge stone, of course, just HAD to land on top of a rather large, pointy rock – a.k.a.,

a mountain. However, this was not just any mountain; this was a volcano, the only volcano in the world at this

point, in fact, and it had been dormant ever since humans first came into existence. Coincidence? I think not.

The stone, being smaller than the crater of the volcano, slipped right through, and the thin rocky film blocking the

crater snapped like a piece of quality dark chocolate. Pressure built up slowly…and slowly…and slowly, I suppose…

and then won the short battle. The volcano spewed, instantly coating all ten of the humans in a very thick and

steaming layer of lava. Isn't that perfectly lovely? Well, of course, that meant an end to them all…humans were not

created fire-proof. In fact, that was the only thing they were not immune to at this point.

By the way, this is the moment during which they discovered fire.

In any case, Hephaestus, god of the forge and fire, suddenly formed some sort of door in the volcano and walked

right out of it, as if it was his home. It was, actually. He waded through the lava as if it were shallow water.

"I had not originally intended for such a thing to happen," he murmured, "but it has happened for good purpose. I

am the voice of my dear volcano – "he then proceeded to call his 'dear volcano' the sort of names you'd call a cute

puppy – "and I have made it dormant for a reason. I had assumed that humans would one day witness the

eruption of this volcano and discover fire, henceforth discovering me – for I may appear wherever fire is near. Fire

would be quite helpful to them; however, I have only recently observed that there is nothing to do with this fire.

There was no meat to cook, no heat necessary; for they needed only to rely on simple water. Now, however, I will

once again create a human race; a new, improved version. Let's say that those last ten people were a rough draft.

"There will be animals to walk upon the Earth, beautiful ones, from the spotted giraffe to the common fish. They

shall discover them one by one and realize just how lovely the world is. And there will be trees, in every shape,

size, and color. They shall live for thousands of years and bring greenery to their landscapes, walls to their

buildings, and freshness to the air.

"The humans will have to rely upon all of these things and possibly more for the rest of their lives; simple water will

be mandatory as well, but life will not be nearly as simple anymore.

"People will have many, many problems. But sometimes, they will look back, and see these problems as lovely

things; things that help them grow in every way. There will still be some who will compete; competition is lovely, but

it is not necessary, for only animals will need it to survive. As humans grow through life, they will realize that there

is no need to fight.

"When you are drowning, you push others beneath you to stay alive; but most of the time, you end up dead

anyway."

That, I'm afraid, is the melancholy truth.

Hephaestus called upon his immortal family and together they raised a tree out of the humans' ashes like a

phoenix. It began simply, as a straightforward trunk; but as it got closer to maturity, the limbs became more

intricate, turning into branches. The branches stretched into the tiniest of twigs, but these twigs mattered as well,

in their own unknown way.

Together they created all the animals and general wildlife, and eventually the most complicated creature arose for a

better time; the human.

The humans existed in hundreds this time, and at first, they behaved like animals. Gradually they learned and gave

themselves knowledge, creating their languages again over the course of thousands and thousands of years. The

humans grew and evolved, blossoming into beautiful creatures; sometimes as delicate violets, sometimes as tough,

thorned roses. There were lots of problems; people got worried all the time; people started being negative. And

then, somebody decided to invent optimism; or rather, somebody recognized what it actually was. The optimism still

grows and grows, so sometimes even our own problems become invisible because of the sheer force of our

thoughts. Sometimes, we learn to raise trees even from the deepest ashes, to find solutions in disasters; but the

solution will never be to boast or to brag, to say that you are the best. You are not an animal; trees were born from

your ancestors' ashes, and you are just as complicated, seemingly pointless, and beautiful. To trees, it does not

matter who is best.