Why the Willow Weeps


Photo credit: Mark M

Willow lived to dance.  He waved his branches high whether Sambar sent rain or sun or wind, but especially whenever Zheelo was there, singing.

When Zheelo stole the Silver Flute, she begged Willow to protect her.

Willow was torn.  He was loyal to Sambar.  But he loved Zheelo.  He bent down, hiding her in the dome of his leaves.

Sambar’s voice boomed.  “You cannot escape, daughter.  I see all.”  Sambar plucked Zheelo from Willow’s embrace, pulling her to Aranom.

“You, Willow, shall continue bowing, in penance.”

To this day, Willow droops, swaying in the breeze, and dreaming of the dance.

Word count: 100.  Written for this week’s Friday Fictioneers. Thank you Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting!  See the original photo prompt below, and click here to read the other stories inspired by it.

Theological notes: The fact that the gods are real in Eneanatalae does not mean that every myth that mortals have about the gods are true: far from it.  Despite many legends to the contrary, it is not possible for gods to physically manifest on Eneana (except for Kakika, but she is a special case).  Sambarans worship Sambar primarily, and consider all other deities to be his wife, his children (some obedient, some wayward, some downright evil), or false gods.  For another look at the deity the Sambarans call Zheelo, see these stories about Jhillos, from the perspective of people who worship him directly.


Photo © C.E. Ayr

25 thoughts on “Why the Willow Weeps

  1. I like this Joy. Feels like a very real ‘derivation’ myth, the kind of reasoning a lot of native people’s have for why nature is the way it is. Poor Willow was always going to have a sad tale around him, because of his drooping nature. Wonderfully told 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was fascinated with such stories too — which I’m guessing is pretty obvious by now. I try so hard to tell *new* myths, but the general ideas are so common, they still come out sounding traditional.


  2. Myth themes wander through the ages and apparently transcend universes. 🙂 We need a ‘Golden Bough’ for Eneana. Great story, Joy. Sorry for being so late, my week was insane.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny that you mention Golden Bough, Gabi — I was just thinking the other day (well, I guess it was a while ago now) that none of my religions involve a myth of a dying and reborn god, or the sacrifice of the god’s child. Closest I come is a few famous martyrs. Hm. Well, there’s always room for more myths…

      Hope your crazy week calms down and you get some rest!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like the way you’ve used the willow’s natural form as the basis for your story. It’s similar to Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Just So’ stories of how various animals got their tails, stripes, long nose etc. A fascinating story and a sad fate for poor Willow, who only wanted to be helpful to someone he liked.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s exactly the feeling I was going for, so I’m glad to hear you say that. It’s been so long since I’ve read those Kipling stories that I can’t remember any details, but the idea is still there. I should go back and revisit those. I wonder if they would read differently to me now, knowing what I do about mythology. For instance, would I recognize the kind of cautionary tale that I tried to show here — about not going against the will of Sambar? Hm.


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