Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Spontaneous Storytime

On the road between home and Dayton, we crossed a river whose green highway sign proclaimed its name to be Mad River. How very strange a name for a body of water! It didn't look the least bit mad, or even slightly perturbed. It flowed gently and placidly southwards-- probably a tributary of the Ohio. But why would such a calm and pastoral river be named the Mad River? My muse whispered this story spontaneously to me.

The Mad River is so named because in days of old, people who felt madness come upon them would go and pray to the spirit of that river. They would wash in the water, and the water would take their madness from them-- or at least enough of it that they could function. The creative part of the madness was left them, and the destructive part was taken away.

However, when the spring floods came, the Mad River would rage uncontrollably over its banks, all the madness in the water churned up and set loose, no longer held bound by winter’s ice, and vast was the damage that rushing water would cause.

At last a wise shaman was able to speak with the river god and cure him of his madness so that the river rages no more—yet she also angered the river god with her presumption in daring to speak with authority to an immortal spirit and work her healing arts upon him.

Because of this, the river god will wash the madness from the people no longer, and the people of the valley must bear their own ills as best they may.

6 comments:

Tirithien said...

I like this. My kola has definite skill. :-)

clew said...

It was actually named for General "Mad" Anthony Wayne. There's a ski resort near Mansfield called Mad River Mountain - when you come to Ohio for school (wink) you'll have to check it out! I'm sure Tirithein can show you the Anthony Wayne Suspension Bridge in Toledo as well!

(Sorry - I'm a native, and a fact nerd) ...

Nevermind about General Wayne. Your story's better.

Tirithien said...

I know the real story, but I like hers better. ;-)

clew said...

Figured you would, T! :D

Bainwen Gilrana said...

Wow, my story is much more fun. :-)

naneth said...

Dang, and here I was all set to go take a dip in the Mad River to wash away the bad madness and keep the good madness! Protocol....