Hello, one and all.
We are now past Women’s Month and April Fool’s Day. I have been to North America this time, and the story I’m about to tell is befitting for both Women’s Month and April Fool’s.
Do you know why, whenever you make a sound inside a cave, there is always an echo? Certainly it has baffled and entertained me (How many of you have yelled ECHO!and received an answering Cho-Cho-Cho…! as a child when in a cave?) for many years, but the Ute, an American Indian tribe, has an origin story of the Echo that has made me bite my cheek and chortle and appreciate their sense of (ribald) humor. I knew I had to share this with you all.
According to the Ute, echoes in caves came about when one day, many centuries ago, a jealous, demanding, and very amorous woman named Echo saw a very handsome toddler. It was love at first sight (only for her of course). Soon thereafter, she plotted to kidnap him from his family, and when she succeeded, the boy’s mother, Dove, was aggrieved. Echo had hidden her son so effectively from her that it was many a year before mother and son met again, despite Dove’s constant efforts to find him.
The boy soon grew into a young man, and feared Echo’s many changing moods—not to mention her unbelievable lust, which he could only barely manage to satisfy. While out hunting, he pondered his dilemma; after catching a buffalo, he, ever the dutiful husband, started
to bring the meat back home, albeit with a very heavy and reluctant heart. He knew Echo would want him in bed again. She always did, every waking moment of their lives, and although at first he was flattered, her demands of him soon became almost too much to bear. To soothe himself, he hummed a tune his mother used to sing to him when he was a little baby and couldn’t sleep. This was how everyday life was for the poor youth. It made him wonder how he could ever survive another year with his wife.
It was how Dove found him, singing the lullaby to himself, and finding him, was overjoyed. Mother and child cried tears of joy when they finally found each other again; Dove had never given up looking for her boy, and for many years had taken a bird’s form to try and find him. Many years passed and passed, and so she forgot how to turn back into a human. Even so, the young man recognized his mother, and being her son, helped her regain her human form again.
Soon they plotted for him to be able to escape Echo’s lustful clutches. The next time the youth went out hunting for buffalo, he piled the meat high up in a cedar tree. Echo was livid that she had to work to get the food, but she did. It took quite a while (she was a woman, after all) and a lot of careful pondering on her part, but she was finally able to take the food down with a show of power, grace and finesse. Turning to her husband, eager to see the look of awe and pride in his face she used to see while she raised him, she frowned.
He wasn’t there anymore.
Sighing, Echo went inside their home. Something was off with the boy these days. He barely even touched her in bed anymo—oh-ho.
There, in their bed, was her husband, his proud erection protruding from the sheets. Echo’s mouth ran dry at the sheer size of it, and quickly tore off her clothes, dove into bed with him and made love with much gusto.
Finally, an exhausted, satisfied smile on her face, she looked at the boy and—found herself face-to-face with a tree stump. Not a man, a tree stump. She understood right away what had happened. Dove had finally found her son, and had taken him back.
They had tricked her!
It was an angry and humiliated Echo that went after the boy and Dove; and yet, along the way she grew lustful again, and thought of how she would make love to her husband once she found him. Smiling at what was to come, a bit breathless as she anticipated going home with him again, she tracked them down to Dove’s father’s home.
Now, Rattlesnake, Dove’s father, was happy to be reunited with his daughter and grandson. When he saw how much the youth was scared at the news of his wife’s arrival into his territory, he didn’t understand (Echo was a beautiful woman, after all). Nevertheless Rattlesnake devised a plan to trap her once and for all, for the sake of his grandson. He hid them from Echo and went out to confront her.
Rattlesnake was taken aback at Echo’s state. She was positively… lusting after the boy. A bit scared now (surely a wanton woman such as she could only tire out a man, let alone a young man like his grandson! He thought to himself, shaking his head), he tricked her into going inside a cave.
Once there he tricked her into seeing many penises instead of stalactites and stalagmites with his magic. Rattlesnake was fascinated at how she grew excited at the scene, but he was a wise man, and a wise man knew when it was time to go away. Very far away.
He transformed himself into a rattlesnake and joined his family in the place where he hid them. Rattlesnake closed the entrance to the cave quickly and skillfully, such that only a rattlesnake could come in and out of it. All of them (yes, even Echo) lived happily thereafter.
And thus to this day Echo resides in caves, where there are enough phallic-shaped stalagmites and stalactites to keep her satisfied.
Happy Women’s Month, All!
And Happy April Fool’s Day, too!
Le Fou is a nom de plume used by a literature enthusiast who was born in the Philippines. Le Fou never actually went to any other place other than her home country, the USA, and Canada (for all of two days), so in actuality all the stories this wannabe nomad gets is from the Internet and books. She dreams of one day visiting Europe (Ireland, mostly; but other interesting places are fine too), Japan, China, and Egypt, all the places where magic, mystery and stories were seemingly born in.