Myths are not stories that are untrue… Rather, they are tales that don’t fit neatly into the historical record, which serve as a foundation to a culture.
Have you ever wondered how the trees got their names? The mighty oak, the regal birch, and the small quaking aspen. Well, as our own EC community manager Arthur told me and as you’re all about to witness through Jordan’s artwork.
They were actually people once, Flesh, and blood Children of the beautiful queen of snakes Eglė. Until the day the oceans ran red, and they were cursed.
We start our tale before Eglė was a queen, back when she was only the youngest daughter of a poor farmer s family. She, and her three sisters, were out in the woods one day bathing when a little grass snake crawled into her blouse that was left on the shore, Seeing this she cried out, and her sister grabbed a stick to kill it, but suddenly the little snake turned and spoke in a human voice.
Eglė my dear promise to marry me, and I’ll crawl out myself. Eglė was shocked, in no way was she going to marry someone she just met. Especially, not a rude little snake, so she refused, But then the snake refused to get out of her blouse, and she couldn’t bring herself to kill it.
This stalemate lasted for a while.
Finally, she gave in because let s be real. There was no way a little snake could force her to get married anyway. So, what was the harm? Once she agreed, the little snake excitedly slithered out of her blouse, and the girls gathered their things and quickly ran home. A few days had passed, and it looked like Eglė was off the hook, But suddenly she was drawn to the window by her father s shout. There she saw thousands of snakes coming over the fields, and right up to the farmers’ door towing a wagon decorated for a bride.
“We are here for Eglė” they hissed, the stunned family didn’t know what to do, but they most certainly didn’t want their daughter getting married to a literal snake, So thinking quickly they devised a cunning plan. After some blisteringly fast improvisation, the family opened the door and brought out a goose, dressed in some of Eglė s clothes. “here you go” said her father, “This here is definitely our very human daughter Eglė” The snakes studied the goose carefully, and then helped it right into the wagon, Turns out snakes Not the best eyesight, but halfway back to wherever they came from a meddling cuckoo bird stopped them.
Cuckoo you idiots that s not a person, That s a goose, Cuckoo. The snakes now realizing this deception were check-in furious, They swarmed back to the farmers home and threatened to curse the entire family with famine for their treachery, And surprised by the uncanny ability of these serpents and also now starting to worry these snakes could actually do as they said, Eglė decided to play it safe “Enough” She said pushing past her father, “I am Eglė Take me to my groom to be” So she said goodbye to her mother, her father, her three sisters, and her 12 brothers, and was taken away by the slithering horde. They took her down to the sea and there waiting for her in the surf like out of some paperback romance novel, was an exceptionally attractive man. Turns out, the little grass snake was actually the king of all snakes,
He looked so handsome, not to mention her new home was to be his underwater palace made of amber and sea glass. They were wet, and after some time it turned out that Eglė was actually quite happy with her new husband. The years went by, and Eglė and the Snake King had three children, the oldest was named Oak, The middle was named Birch, and finally, there was little Aspen, but after a while, Eglė missed her family, and wanted her parents to meet their grandchildren. At first, the Snake King refused, but after she begged, pleaded, and finished every time-wasting side quest, he threw at her he finally relented. “Oh, fine Go visit your family, When you want to come home simply stand by the water s, edge Sing this song, and I will come” Once she learned the tune, Eglė taught it to her children, as well making them promise to keep it a secret, which is definitely not foreshadowing, and the four of them set off to her childhood home.
Upon their arrival, her family greeted them warmly. They talked, and they laughed, and the children met all of their aunts and uncles. A truly great time was had by all, so great in fact that Eglė’s brothers began to think they didn’t really want their sister to go away again. “Who knows how long it ll be till she s back if she goes home to that awful husband” They decided, they needed to find the Snake King for a little chat, the only problem was they didn’t know where to find him, But they had a feeling who might. So, the brothers took their nephews, and niece out into the woods to interrogate them on how to find the Snake King.
When Oak pressed she refused to tell them, citing his promise. Even when they threatened to punish him, he stood firm. Then, they tried the same with Birch, making similar threats, but same result, and no deal. But finally, when they began intimidating little Aspen, she panicked, “There s a song we must sing at the edge of the beach, only then will father come” And, after further threats, she taught her uncle’s the tune. Then, the twelve brothers walk down to the beach, sing the song and sure enough, the Snake King emerged from the waves, And instead of seeing his wife, and children, he was greeted by the brothers and their very sharp farming tools, They killed the Snake King threw his body back into the sea, and returned home.
Satisfied that Eglė had no reason to leave home again, and confident that they wouldn’t get into any trouble for murdering their sister s husband, the magical shape-shifting serpent. Eglė and her kids continued their family visit until it was time to bid her family farewell, and head back to the sea. And, when they arrived at the shore she sang her husband s song, But where the Snake King should have appeared the sea instead foamed red with his blood, “Oh Eglė” his ghost cried with the crashing waves, “of our children little Aspen could not keep a secret and your brother s learned my song and struck me dead” Heartbroken, and angry Eglė turns to Aspen and cursed her. Be a tree a fearful, and the timid little tree, Never know the peace of heart, but tremble always, and let the rain torment you without mercy, Let the wind pull madly at your tresses. And to her sons she said, But you will grow to be great trees, and handsome, with your mother always near you. And so, it came to be, and that is why oak, and birch crow mighty and strong to this day. While, the aspen shakes, at the slightest breeze.