Thole No More, You Maidens, Thole No More

Oh, they were very tried, indeed were they tried, in those dry years, when the hand of every man was turned against them and nowhere might they find rest and shelter from the blowing wind. Somehow they survived. As the tumbleweed, somehow they passed through adversity without scarring, almost without knowledge, certainly without intention; and, as the tumbleweed, flowered brilliant and verdant when, by chance, blown to some muddy, unpromising puddle.

They built their elegant compound on the side of the new-risen mountain, finding sanctuary where men feared to tread, finding companionship with the speaking animals that mock and mimic and skitter away. Because they were gentle, and because they were hopeful, and because, by their creed, they could not learn from hard experience, they left gifts for the speaking animals: blocks of salt, sweet and dewy grasses, firstfruits, fatted beeves, strong and unmixed wine. Along the rude mountain paths they left their gifts, until the animals learned patience and lost their fear, and would creep shyly to the proferring hand, eyes infuscate with strange knowledge. Then what rejoicing in the compound! Here were their lost lovers, here their sons and daughters, here their family! The light of revelry shone forth and played coruscant upon the mountainside, and over the placid faces of the speaking animals.

When, years later, men came again to the area, timid and hung with wardstones and fetishes, no trace of the compound remained, nor of the women that had worked to build it, nor even stone laid upon stone, but only the speaking animals and the quiet woods. The animals chased the men from the mountain, wailing and shrieking and pleading in the voices of the women, and so the mountain came by the name it bears to this day. And, indeed, never yet has the hand of man or of woman built a place for us upon those hillsides or in those valleys, nor have living eyes looked upon the interior vastnesses of that so-young peak. It takes more than desire and loneliness to make a friendship.