"Sarre." The four winds of the ancient world rolled her name around their mouths, tasting it on their tongues.
"Sarre." The Wind Which Blows from the North spat it out in icy blasts, stinging and cutting the world with icicles.
"Sarre." The Wind Which Blows from the West breathed it out in a long, contemplative sigh, stroking troubled seas into rolling coils that heaved like a weeping woman.
"Sarre." The Wind Which Blows from the South drawled it in a guttural laugh that fell around the mountains like a hot storm.
"Sarre". The Wind Which Blows from the East sang it in a sweet and whispered lullaby, as if from a mother to her baby, as if from a forest to its daughter.
Long ago, when the young earth still trembled with an old magic, when trees shook their leaves for the Mother Goddess and water-nymphs still hid in whirlpools, the Four Winds loved none more than Sarre.
"Her face is pure, like melting snowflakes," the North Wind would scream.
"Her eyes shine like deep blue lanterns," the West Wind would whisper.
"Her laughter lifts even the bones of the earth," the South Wind would chuckle.
"Her hair flows in rivers all around her shoulders," the East Wind would muse.
And so, Sarre spent her days in simple peace. In the mornings she threw her greetings to the Four Winds; by night, she watched the Goddess pull the moon across the sky. In between, she laughed and danced and sang with the world, and to all who heard her voice, she was a comfort.
But Sarre was young and foolish.
On a deep, warm night, a pair of eyes traced the path of the moon as she slid across the sky. How pale she was, and how fierce! How old she was, and how immortal! Sarre's heart clenched in her chest with a sudden thought, "the moon will live forever. She will be regarded and loved forever." Captivated, jealous, Sarre shivered as though from a chill. She ran as quickly as she could to the pool in the forest, and, kneeling on the backs of the fallen leaves, took a long look at the girl who stared back. She would never be as bright as that moon in the sky. She would never be immortal like her friends, the Four Winds. She would wane, she would weaken, she would wither.
"Someday you must die," said the reflection-girl. "Someday."
As the Goddess put away the moon and pushed the sun into the sky, Sarre awoke with a heavy heart. She did not throw her greetings to the Four Winds, nor laugh, nor dance, nor sing.
"Sarre," spat the North Wind, for it was he who claimed the day, "why do you not sing to me? Why is your face dark, like a snowflake hidden in shadows?"
"I have forgotten how to sing, Wind-which-Blows-from-the-North. And as for my face, it cannot always be bright." And at that, the North Wind went off to fetch the West Wind.
"Sarre," breathed the West Wind, for she had come with the North Wind's concern, "why do you not sing to me? Why are your eyes dim and sad, like lanterns that have been left unpolished?"
"I have forgotten how to sing, Wind-which-Blows-from-the-West. And as for my eyes, they cannot always be bright." And at that, the West Wind went off to fetch the South Wind.
"Sarre," laughed the South Wind, for he had come with the West Wind's concern, "why do you not sing to me? Why is your laugh hollow, like a lament which puts the earth's bones to rest?"
"I have forgotten how to sing, Wind-which-Blows-from-the-South. And as for my laugh, it cannot always be bright." And at that, the South Wind went off to fetch the East Wind.
"Sarre," sang the East Wind, for she had come with the South Wind's concern, "why do you not sing to me? Why is your hair empty, like a river which has dried and cracked?"
"I have forgotten how to sing, Wind-which-Blows-from-the-East. And as for my hair, it cannot always be bright." And at that, the Four Winds left in sadness.
As Sarre sat alone, the jealousy in her heart grew and grew, and she resolved that she must grasp her own fate in her hands. "I will kill the moon," she thought. "I will shoot the moon down with my arrows, and I will take her place. Then, I will never cease to be bright. I will be the orb in the sky that the lonely speak to when hours grow quiet. I will never die."
She would do it tonight.
As the sad Winds pulled their voices away from the earth, as they sighed Sarre's name for the last time in melancholy, the Goddess lit the moon for her nightly duty.
In a faraway land, a pair of lovers watching the moon cried as an arrow hissed through the sky.
In a faraway land, a child watching the moon cried as an arrow stung her swollen form.
In a faraway land, an old man watching the moon cried as she shattered into a hundred, a million, tens of trillions of glittering pieces.
Sarre stood at the edge of the forest, her arm limp with the weight of a yew bow, shoulders shaking with thick regret. As she imagined alarmed eyes blinking in confusion all over the world, she felt salt tears falling from her own. All of a sudden, the bow grew too heavy to hold, and Sarre's body crumpled in a sob. The moon-pieces fell all around her, and as she tried to gather them up in her trembling arms, they slipped between her fingers, like water from cupped hands. Burdened with guilt black as a phantom, Sarre whispered a silent prayer to the Goddess, asking for forgiveness.
A voice that did not spit, or breathe, or laugh, or sing. A voice that did all these things. A voice that echoed with the wisdom of forgotten ages, that comforted with the gentle touch of a mother.
The Goddess stepped out from nothing and smiled. "Sarre," she said again.
"I wanted to be as beautiful as the moon, and as free as her forever is," Sarre cried. "I wanted to be bright until eternity, to be a companion for the lonely when the night-hours grow quiet." Her voice fell to a whisper, hopeless and small as the tears that wet the leaves underfoot. Cries echoed in the silence that settled there, against the hollows of her collarbones, against the curves of her shaking knees.
Finally, the Goddess spoke.
"I know you, Sarre, beloved of the Four Winds. I have heard you sing to them in the mornings, and I have heard you bid them goodbye at moonrise. I have seen your face as you watched me pull the moon across the sky, and I have seen that face reflected at you in the forest pool. I know you, Sarre, beloved of the Four Winds." She paused. "And I saw an arrow's feathers kiss your cheek before it broke my moon into these pieces strewn here."
In Sarre's eyes, the Goddess saw a heartbreaking innocence. Holding the girl's face in her hands, she swept away the tears and smiled again. "Broken things can be put back together. A shattered moon will swell again. I know you, Sarre, beloved of the Four Winds. You are beloved by the Goddess, too."
Long ago, when the young earth still trembled with an old magic, when trees shook their leaves for the Mother Goddess and water-nymphs still hid in whirlpools, the night sky shone bright with the moon's lonely, pale light. But one day, a pair of lovers, a child, and an old man looked up and saw a new miracle: million and millions of happy tears, illuminating the corners of sky the moon could not reach. And more wonderful was the shape of a girl in those tears, her open arms twinkling, as if to scatter the night with more crystals.
And that was how Sarre, beloved of the Winds and the Goddess, put stars in the sky.