The Tale of the Mountain full of Gold

There once lived a lonely old man on top of a mountain. Lonely, for war had taken his only son. He

cursed the Great War and his country for entering it. He wished every day that his son would have

been less courageous and proud so to not have gone into his death.

Many were proud of such a death as was his wife. She said she could not have wished for a better

son. Struck by grief and anger about the ignorance of his wife and the death of his beloved son, he

left his old house at the foot of the mountain behind to climb the grey heights and curse the goddess

who was said to live on the very top of it. So the old man lived many years on the snowy peak of the

mountain, awaiting and cursing the goddess that was never to come, all the while growing older and

lonelier. Every day he stepped out of the hut he had built and sat down on the very top of the

mountain, his old bones too weak to support his weight for the hours he yelled at the winds, clouds

stones and snow. "I wish we were cowards, crouching behind our mountains to protect us from war.

I wish we had no pride to bow down to our enemies. I wish we were not noble, nor honourable." The

goddess had listened to the old man for many years but she found little sense in what he was saying

so she never gave him an answer nor did she want to fulfil his wish. After many years of voicing his

grief to the goddess and his wishes, the old man's life was nearing his end. So now he lay on the

snowy ground of the cold mountain and voiced what he taught were his last words. "Hear my last

words, listen to my last wish, oh you cursed goddess. You are like this mountain, old, cold, cruel and

mute. You take what is not yours for a country that you do not care for. You hear my grief and yet

you let me die with my heart full of it. My soul will never find the way to my son. He died full of pride

and glory, whilst my soul will rot on this mountain like my body." As he closed his eyes, his body

already growing cold from the snow, he heard a voice. Quiet and loud at the same time, strong like

the wind but soft as a feather, warm like a mothers endearing voice and yet cold as the snow he was

lying upon. "What do you wish for then, Griever? You name complaints that I do not understand, you

speak ill of things others could only wish to have and you curse all the blessings I gave to my beloved

folk." The old man, thinking that he already had died, answered the goddess: "Now you appear, after

all has ended. I wish for peace and not glory in war. I wish what you call blessings gone for they have

caused me and many of your beloved folk grief and sorrow. I wish for no one to have the same fate

as me, for no gold nor honour or anything you could offer me could wash away my grief. If only you

could give me back my son." Then the goddess understood why the Griever wished for such

unfavourable changes, not to make his people less valuable, what she had thought at first, to be able

to bear the pain better if there were not much to lose, but to protect his people and those which he

loved. "I cannot give you back your son, nor can I take away your grief. But you have named gold and

that I can give you." – "As wise as you seem to be, you did not understand that no amount of gold

could calm my soul, and as my life has come to an end it has no more value for me." He then felt a

hand on his cheek and he knew that he was still alive. "My dear Griever, look at me." And as he did,

he was the first and only human to lay eyes on the goddess that stood over him. Her eyes as grey as

the mountains with skin as gold as the sun she was the most proud and beautiful being he had ever

seen. With a spear in her left and a shield in her right hand he realized she was a goddess meant to

fight and give courage to the men in war. "All your wishes stand against what I am and if I would fulfil

them I would soon perish from this world. But you have moved me and thus I shall give you two gifts

no god has ever given to a mortal." Hope blossomed in the heart of the old man and he still wished

for the impossible. "Because of the courage and pride I bestowed upon your son and many brave

warriors, their life ended before their time and so I shall give you all the time on earth that was not

given to them. I have given you the gift of long life. For the second gift that is in my power to give

you, you shall receive any amount of gold you wish. I know you do not want it, but gold has healed

more wounds than you think it possible and it is the only gift I am able to give you with a light heart."

The goddess disappeared never to show her face again. But instead of joy, what the goddess had

intended, the Griever only felt more sadness. "Oh, you cruel creature! Now you have given me

endless years to grieve and you call it a gift? And you give me gold that I do not want. Not if you gave

me this mountain full of gold could you end my grief! No gold can return my son or end my misery on

this earth!" And so the Griever grieved more, and lived on and on and on.