Lakat, the continent of Eheen, Cardassia Prime, the Cardassian Union
Laran put his finger on a blue part of the map. “Mommy, why is this part of the ocean called ‘Where Stars Fell’? There’s no star here. There’s nothing here, just water.”
“Come here, Droplet, I’ll tell you a story.” Atira, a native of Nokar
, sat in an armchair and pulled her arms toward her five-year-old son. The big map on the floor forgotten, he ran to her and with her help climbed up her knees.
“I like stories,” he declared.
“I know. But this story is special.”
“Because it really happened.” Little Laran’s eyes opened wide as she started to say, “Long time ago there was a small island near the east coast of Nokar—”
“That’s where you are from, Mommy, isn’t it?” he interrupted.
“That’s right,” she confirmed with a smile and then continued. “And on that island there was a small village. And in that village lived a wise fisherman. He was the leader of his people and very, very smart. And he knew what the sacrifice was.
“One day a big rock from the outer space hit the Hebitian moon, and little pieces of the moon fell on the planet and the moon itself was pushed out from the orbit.”
“And moon people died?”
She smiled. “There were no moon people on the moon, Droplet.”
She went on. “But there were people on the planet. And they were very scared, because the planet moved. Nokar was not warm and pleasant any longer, since it moved to the north.”
“What about the island and the fisherman?”
She was glad to see that her son listened carefully. “A rain of stars fell on the island and everyone had to run away. But there was no escape, because all air shuttles and all ships had been destroyed in fire. The only way to leave the island was the fisherman’s boat.”
“Was it big enough?”
“No, it wasn’t.” Laran’s facial expression changed to great sadness, as his mother kept saying, “There were many parents on the island, many mommies and daddies who loved their children as much as I love you. And they wanted their children to leave the island on the boat.”
“And how did they leave the island?”
“They didn’t.” She gave the boy a moment to digest it and then continued, “The fisherman did all he could to take as many children as the boat could carry; he even decided to stay on the island himself so that a few more children could take his place. No one asked him to do that, because it was his boat, but that was his choice.”
“His sacrifice,” Laran said and his mother smiled, glad that he understood the story. “Where is that island now?”
“It’s gone. The sea took it and buried it. But we didn’t forget about the brave fisherman and his friends and how they all saved all children from the island. His wife cried for many days for she missed her husband and his children cried with her for they wanted to be with their daddy, but they knew that his sacrifice was sacred and they would never dare to reject it. They appreciated it and they spread the word about the brave fisherman who saved all children from the island from the falling stars.”
“They were like you, and me, and daddy.” Laran didn’t ask a question; it was a statement.
Atira smiled. She’d never thought about it that way, but there indeed was some similarity: her husband had also risked and lost his life to protect her and other Cardassians. He’d paid the highest price, but thanks to his decision she was alive and so was little Laran. Tears shone in her eyes as she felt for the fisherman’s wife—they were separated by five hundred years and different culture, but they certainly mourned their loved ones the same way and treasured what was left. She hugged her son, putting her chin in the top of his head and he didn’t resist.
Mourn him, cry and miss him every moment, but also be proud of him and don’t let people forget that he was a hero. They both were: her husband and the fisherman.
Lakat, the continent of Eheen, Cardassia Prime, the Cardassian Union
“Story time!” Laran ran toward his uncle, who had just sat with a padd in an armchair. “Story, story, story!” The boy kept jumping in front of the man, his small heels making a lot of noise on the floor.
Arenn, a native of Eheen
, looked at his padd, which contained a novel he was reading, and then at his nephew. He had no heart to disappoint the boy, so he put away the padd and patted his thighs. “Jump on.”
The five-year-old climbed up and sat comfortably between Arenn’s arms.
The uncle began. “Long time ago there was a small island in the hot region of Hebitia. And on that island lived a fisherman with his family: his wife and two boys, one just like you. One day a rain of stars fell on the island and evil fire wanted to eat everything and everyone. But there lived a very smart prefect on the island, who had an idea of saving many, many people. He asked the fisherman if he would agree to take all children from the island on his boat and take them to safety.”
“The fisherman agreed because he knew what was sacrifice,” Laran interjected.
Arenn smiled. “He agreed, yes. But the boat was too small and not everyone could board it. So the prefect asked him if he had any ideas how to make the boat better and able to carry more people, but the fisherman didn’t know how to do it, unless he himself would not board it. But who would steer the boat?” Laran shook his head, not knowing the answer. “He quickly taught his wife how to steer the boat and she boarded it. She was smaller and lighter than he, so more than one person could replace him.”
Laran frowned. “Mommy told me this story but it was different.”
Arenn grinned. “Was it?”
“She told me that it had been the fisherman’s idea to use his boat, not prefect’s. There was no prefect at all! Are you lying to me?” The boy’s suspicious look was adorable and the uncle did his best not to laugh.
“I would never lie to you, Laran, you know that.” Arenn paused, wondering how to explain that to the boy. “Mommy and I told you the same story, it’s just that...no one really knows what exactly happened, so we try to tell it the best we can.”
“So which one to real?”
“Both. And none.”
Laran gave Arenn such a look that the man again almost burst into laughter: disbelief mixed with scepticism on the tiny face. “Explain,” the boy demanded.
“I cannot. I do not understand it myself.”
Thin eye ridges frowned. “Hmmm...who was the first to tell this story?” he asked
Arenn felt nothing less than pride of the clever boy. “The fisherman’s wife and his children.”
“And what did they say?”
“That told everyone what had happened. And then those people told other people what had happened. And so for over five hundred years people told and re-told this story...and the truth blended with imagination.”
Laran grew even more suspicious. “Why? Didn’t they remember
Accusing a Cardassian of forgetting was offensive and Laran knew that. Arenn had to do something not to let the boy get the wrong impression from the story. “No, my Soldier, they did remember. But the story is so sad that everyone feels sad when telling it. And many people added something to make the story even more important, to make sure that everyone understood how brave was the fisherman, his wife and everyone else on that little island.” The uncle realised that it was very difficult to explain it to the inquisitive boy. He felt like sinking under scrutinising him sceptic eyes. “People told the story the best they could, trying not to omit anything important, trying not to omit the lesson it teaches us.”
“The sacrifice if the greatest good and a duty of every Cardassian,” Laran intoned.
Arenn nodded. “Yes, you know the words and you repeat them as you were taught. But do you feel
them,” he said, placing his hand on the boy’s chest.
Laran’s facial expression changed and all doubt vanished. “Tell me the story again,” he asked and Arenn granted his request with delight.