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The Lacori Myth

The Bergonian Godly Resurrection Myth.  Virtually every classical religion has a myth of the resurrection of God. Buddhism vaguely retells the myth in the sense that Buddha sits under the holy tree and attains a new birth in enlightenment.  Islam, the most authoritarian of the world's religions, doesn’t seem to retell the myth in any form at all.  But in the ancient world Tammuz, Osiris, Orpheus and Baldar all die and return. So does Quetzalcoatl.  And finally Christ.

Tanteli betrays and then kills Lacori.  But Lacori is resurrected, and celebrates in an endless joyful dance, and dance becomes the metaphor of the resurrection, which is to say, the changing ever-rebirthing universe.


Lacori was one of the primary sons of Arkan and Icotesi; a great Sky-God, a creature of perfect power and perfect beauty, a great muscular man with golden skin, a tall virile figure of gold, with big hands and sharp crystalline eyes that reflected the blue light of heaven.  From him emanated consciousness, order and clarity.  From him flowed language and logos, names and numbers, rhyme and reason.  So Arcan and Icotesi sent him to teach civilization to humankind. 

Lacori did not get along with his brother Tanteli, another primary son, the red man with jet-black hair, the long shining river of jet-black hair.  Tanteli was a hungry god, the lustful god, the god of wanting and the god of wanting more.  Tanteli was the red god, an Earth God, a lean handsome man of red skin, with big black obsidian pools for eyes, and an inviting beguiling smile.  In Lacori natural desire awoke to consciousness, and then became focused, cunning and imaginative.

Lacori lived in Star-City, the floating city with alabaster walls, the realm of the purest light, where the Sky-Gods live, where nothing dies.  He looked down at earth and gazed at the men and women.  He wanted to go down to earth and do something for the men and women.  But Arkan said, “Watch out, Son.  Earth is the realm of death.”  Icotesi, the protective mother, gave him some protection.  She gave him her mirror-necklace, which would protect any sky-god from death on earth.  It would heal and keep any being young.  Lacori, as long as he wore it, could be cut up into a thousand pieces, and then in an instant he would reappear whole and alive.

So armed, he floated down from Heaven and alighted upon the earth.  He conveyed to men the arts of agriculture, metallurgy, literature and song.  He built the first city and invited men and women to bring their children and move in.  Tanteli watched from outside the city, perplexed and jealous.  Lacori made all men and women happy and rose back up to Heaven. 

After Lacori left, Tanteli went into the city and began tempting men.  He persuaded many of them to use the arts Lacori taught them for waging war, pursuing selfish passion and oppressing one another.

Lacori came back to earth to rectify the damage Tanteli caused.  Tanteli had taken up residence on earth, and Lacori decided that he must do so as well, and he erected a fine tent in the meadow.  Tanteli couldn't stand the thought that he might have to share the earth with Lacori, so he came to  Lacori's tent and challenged Lacori to a fight.  They faced each other in the meadow.  Tanteli had two sharp blades, fastened onto either end of a long pole, and he whirled and spun the blades around and cut Lacori into a thousand pieces.  But the mirror-necklace did its magic, and in an instant Lacori reappeared whole and alive.  Tanteli fled.

Lacori, his place on earth now secured, went out among the towns and the villages and enjoyed the company of men and women.  On one of these outings, in the soft orange light of evening, he came to a stream where he espied a milkmaid.  She had brilliant eyes like gems, and radiated young feminine beauty like soft orange light.  He instantly tumbled into a deep longing for her.  She was named Kithia.

 The maid at first felt deeply complimented by his attention, and blushed with embarrassment.  She fled and hid among her people.  Lacori was too demure to pursue her.  The next day, after she had time to recover from her first emotion, she thought, "Perhaps he’ll build me a palace and a beautiful garden; perhaps he’ll give me gold, gems and pearls."  He was very powerful, she realized, and a little frightening, but he was quite plainly smitten with her.  She had to see how much control he would surrender to her.  She had to see if she could use his passion to control his will.

After prettying herself, Kithia went out and looked for him.  When she spotted him she arranged it so he thought it coincidental that they were crossing paths.  At first she acted coy and then she teased him.  She sweetly goaded him until he exclaimed his love, and then she said, "I will be your woman but only after you perform three feats." 

Lacori said, “My three feats, and then, my sweet, marry me.”  She laughed and agreed, because she had a plan.  She would get wealth with the first two wishes, and then with the third ask Lacori to do something so impossible, so frightening, that he would surely refuse and break off the deal, or else die in the attempt.  

Lacori’s companion, Methe, pleaded with him not to indulge her demand.  Methe begged him, "Please don't give your love to a woman who demands that you prove it.  Love needs no proof by feats and gifts, but only by honesty and attention."  Lacori would have none of it, however, and laughed at Methe.  He was eager to do whatever Kithia wanted.

First Kithia had him bring her eighty great chests full of gold.  He did this in a day, very much surprising her and everyone else.  She said to herself, "I quite plainly underestimated his power; I should have asked for eight hundred, or eight thousand," and she sat down to ponder how to best take advantage of her second wish.  Finally she went to Lacori and asked for the magic earrings of the goddess Polithi.  Polithi was the daughter of the Goddess Mara, and lived in Star City.  It was known that whoever wore these earrings could change stones to gems.  

Lacori did not flinch; he said he would get them.  Soon enough, Lacori returned with the earrings, leaving Polithi storming angrily through the halls and avenues of Star City. Polithi went to Arkan and Icotesi and complained, "Someone stole my earrings; find me the culprit."  Arkan answered her, "We know who stole the earring; it was Lacori."  When Polithi demanded that they punish him, Icotesi answered her, "Why do you think we gave them to you?  So he could steal them from you.  My dear, do not worry; we will relax here together and in due course Lacori will receive his punishment.  Your earrings will come back to you."

Now that Kithia was rich she was determined to use her last wish in a way that would keep Lacori from marrying her.  She told him she wanted him to go into the high mountains to the north and tame the giant Firebird, the great avian beast of Bergonian myth.  The Firebird, the great bird with wide wings, flew between the hard granite mountains.  He flew so high it is said that he flew at night up with the stars, and in the light of day he flew above the highest clouds in the sky.  He breathed fire and smoke.  He even farted black smoke, and shit charcoal bricks, so the people said with laughter.  The bird flew down to earth and seized up in its talons cows, deer, goats, any large animal it could find.  It was said that any man or woman who saw the Firebird and who lived to tell of it would enjoy great luck for the rest of a long life.

She hoped that he would recant of the promise rather than go face the Firebird.  On other other hand if he were foolish enough to go, the Firebird would tear him apart.  Either way she would be free to enjoy her treasures.   When she gave him the last challenge he smiled, kissed her, and strode off with indomitable confidence.  His calm frightened her.  Many of the people watched him go.  They jeered him, calling him a love-drunk fool marching off to certain death.

Lacori’s journey to the high mountains and his struggle to tame the great Firebird, a monster akin to the Roc of ancient Arab mythology, is a great mythological adventure all by itself.  Bergonians often tell and enact the story of Lacori and the Firebird. 

To get to the mountains, he had to pass through beautiful green foothills, with pastures of dense grass and clover where herdsmen raised sheep & goats.  The herdsmen welcomed Lacori, and he stayed a night with them.  They served him yogurt and greens.  One of their maidens was an archer, a great beauty with kind eyes, who climbed the high places.  She wore a man's pair of pants and a man's wool coat.  She knew the way into the high mountains, and knew where the Firebird frequented.  Her name was Atlola,  Lacori liked her because she had grit.  She guided Lacori up into the mountains, and just below the highest peak he left her to go on and find the Firebird.  

He fought the Firebird for hours with his sword and hammer.  But when he and the giant bird both finally wearied from their respective wounds they were reduced to trading insults.  Having fought each other to a draw, they sat exhausted, and in time their insults mellowed into banter, and they became friends, for in their fighting they had come to respect each other. 

Atlola had not gone back to her village as Lacori had commanded; instead she had shadowed him to satisfy her great curiosity about the Firebird, and so she had witnessed his fight with the Firebird from a protected vantage point.  But the Firebird spotted her among the rocks, and in a scene repeated in painting and woodblocks a hundred thousand times he has picked her up into the air, holding her coat collar with his great beak.  Suspended in the air, she shakes her fist defiantly at the monster bird, while Lacori sits on the ground laughing.  The Firebird sang, "I will make my supper of you, and enjoy the crunch of your bones and the taste of your meat."  But Atlola replied sarcastically, "You'll not like my taste, sour and bitter as I am."  Both the bird and Lacori laughed, and the Firebird agreed, "You are certainly a foul-sounding thing and probably would taste as foul," and let her go.  The Firebird and Lacori talked, and the Firebird agreed to carry Lacori on his back through the air and fly him back to Kithia.  In exchange Lacori agreed to tell the Firebird all the stories of the Gods.  With Atlola looking up in amazement, the Firebird alighted, with Lacori riding astride on his great feathered back. 

Everyone looked up when the Firebird appeared in the sky.   At first they were frightened, and then they were amazed when they saw Lacori astride the great bird’s back.  In front of all the people the Firebird landed, and Lacori dismounted, wearing a great smile.  Kithia was as amazed as anyone else.  She had no choice but to marry him, and she did so with cold eyes.  It turned out that while Lacori was away in search of the Firebird, Tanteli had come to court her.  While Lacori was up atop the frozen mountain crags wooing the Firebird, Tanteli had been wooing Kithia, and now she had fallen in love with him. 

After their wedding Lacori glowed with happiness, but Kithia surreptitiously saw Tanteli in the dead of night, when the moon was new.  Tanteli urged her to leave Lacori and go off with him.  He plied her with promises of more riches, luxuries and treasures.  So Lacori woke one morning and found that Kithia was gone.  He jumped up and rushed out of the tent.  Nearby shepherds told him they had seen Tanteli running off with her. 

Lacori, never doubting his dear Kithia’s devotion, assumed that Tanteli had kidnapped her.  He never thought for a moment that she might have voluntarily gone with Tanteli.  Lacori embarked upon a long odyssey in search of her.  The Firebird, his friend and ally, flew him all over the world (i.e. Bergonia).  Lacori scrutinized the land from above, but saw no sign of Tanteli or Kithia.

Finally Lacori peered down into a deep ravine.  At the foot of a high waterfall was a pool of water, and beside the pool was a cozy green place of grass and thick moss.  A grand pavilion had been erected there, a grand pavilion that only a god could erect.  Lacori descended into the ravine by riding the waterfall, clutching his dagger and his hammer.  He came up out of the pool and found Kithia reclining on a blanket in the grass.  She cried out to him, “Lacori, help me.  Help me.  I am dying.”  He rushed to her side and put down his dagger and his hammer.  She cried, “Dear Lacori, I think I am dying.  Please save me.”

There was only one way he could save her, and he knew it.  He took off his mother’s necklace, the mirror, and handed it to her.   It would restore her vitality and cure her of illness.  She closed her fist around it, jumped up and pranced away from him through the grass, and Tanteli came flying out of the pavilion, brandishing a sword.  Lacori recoiled before he could reach his own sword, but he managed to grab his hammer as he rolled away.  Tateli swung hard with his sword, and Lacori swung hard with his hammer.  Then Tanteli leapt up and ran his sword into Lacori, and Lacori collapsed onto the grass, now vulnerable without the mirror pendant.  Tanteli and Kithia, with arms around each other like lovers, stood together, looking down on him.  Lacori lay on the ground and looked up at them, shocked by Kithia’s treachery, looking at the mirror pendant now hanging from around her neck.  Tanteli laughed at him.

Lacori lay on the bank of the pool, not able to move.  The flowing blood carried the life out of him and into the water.  He realized the monstrous folly in such passion.  With struggling breath he repented his folly to Arcan.  A voice came into his ear, "Not yet, son."   And then Lacori looked up at grinning Tanteli and at Kithia clinging to Tanteli, and in his heart Lacori forgave them.  In his last breathe he looked at Kithia and said, "You are a creature of passion, stupid like me, and I forgive you."  Then he died. 

Tanteli rolled Lacori’s body into the pool of water.  While Tanteli danced and sang, Kithia watched the body float to the other side.  The body turned the water black as it floated, and then it came to rest by a great black boulder on the opposite bank.

Then Arcan and Icotesi, who watched the scene from Star City, raised him up from where he floated in the water.  As they did, the giant rock changed to crystal, and within it there glowed a light so bright that Tanteli and Kithia, who saw it from across the pool, fled in fright.  Arcan and Icotesi raised him up, and resurrected him.  When Lacori opened his eyes and realized what his father and mother had done for him, he jumped up and began to dance atop the shining rock, wildly and vigorously, with his head thrown back, laughing.

The scene of the golden-skinned Lacori dancing and laughing with ecstatic joy is one of the great conventions in Bergonian religious art.  The golden swirling Lacori is emblematic of the joy one gets with God.   The story conveys the importance of sacrifice, repentance and forgiveness.  It shows how both passion and hatred cause pollution of the soul.  But when Lacori realized what had happened, he realized that his own folly had allowed the evil to occur, he asked for forgiveness and he forgave his enemies.  This process resulted in the purification of his soul, and that evoked the grace of his holy parents.  The pool has significance, because water is the ritual agent in the traditional rite of purification, and the blackness signified the pollutions washing from him.

Tanteli, disgusted with how well things turned out for his brother, decided to be done with Kithia.  He invited a particularly horrible beast he knew to grab her from the side of the pool and make off with her.  When the beast took her, she had no idea that Tanteli was behind it.

Lacori, later on, walked along a trail and heard distant screaming.  He broke through the brush and spotted the beast tromping off with Kithia.  It took little effort for him to force the monster to unhand her.  The monster fled into the dark forest, and Kithia lay on the ground looking up at him.  He had just saved the one who had betrayed him.  She tried again to exercise her wiles on him, and though he faltered at first he found resolve and walked away through the high grass.  This enraged her, and she ran off to the King of the Gnomes and demanded assistance.  “Wreck my revenge on him,” she insisted.  The Gnome King said that he would lead his horde against Lacori, but only if she became his bride.  She immediately consented, and off went the Gnome Horde, hot on Lacori's trail through the high grass.  They attacked him by the river, and one by one he threw the gnomes into the rushing waters.  A group of children sat on the river's far bank, laughing at the gnomes bobbing up and down in the water.

Tanteli had been watching all this, and he was laughing too.  He had meant for the monster to dispose of Kithia, but her impetuous decision to marry the Gnome-King was just as good, and had the extra benefit of turning the Gnomes into potential allies. 

Lacori decided to return to the high northern mountains and seek solace with his friend, the Firebird, who had gone home.  He had to pass through the beautiful green foothills, where the herders pastured their goats and sheep.  He decided to look for Atlola there, and wandered through grove and field looking for her.  She gladly welcomed him.  They decided to eat together.  For his part he went hunting for meat; for her part she went out to find mushrooms, greens & acorns.  They sat together by the stream on the moss-covered bank, under fine large trees, and ate.  The birds, crickets and insects serenaded them. 

Tanteli had followed Lacori and spied on him with Atlola.  He sent a flock of crows to summon the army of gnomes, and they came running.  On a second day Lacori and Atlola planned to eat together again, and they separated, he to hunt and she to gather.  He returned to the moss-covered river bank and found her beset by the army of gnomes, who came down the rocky hillside, jumping from one bolder to another.  He jumped forth and interposed himself between the gnomes and Atlola, giving her time to leap into the waters and swim away.  The gnomes killed him, and he died a second time.  The gnomes at Tanteli’s insistence cut his body up into a thousand pieces, in order to keep him from resurrecting again, and Tanteli danced across the land, scattering the pieces.

Even Kithia was saddened by the outcome.  Atlola collapsed in grief.  The Gods in Star-City wept.  But Lacori’s sister, Apura (one of the Children Goddesses, an Earth-Goddess) called upon the buzzards, vultures and crows, and sent them out to fly over Bergonia to search for the pieces of Lacori’s body.  The carrion-eaters were of course the best equipped of all creatures to find such things.  They found them and carried them up into the sky, and in the night the birds all came to Mara (also one of the Children Goddesses, a Sky-God like Lacori) and delivered to her the pieces of the corpse.  Once the remains were delivered from Earth, the realm of death, they reunited and transformed back to Lacori’s spiritual body.  And again he celebrated in a great dance, now joined by many of the other Gods. 

Lacori could not return to earth. So to console Atlola he sent a hawk to her, and the hawk perched on the wall around Atlola's house and Lacori spoke to her through the hawk's voice.

An alternative version says that to this day the birds are still at work looking for the pieces.  This version holds that the birds succeeded in locating nearly all of them, but still scour the world looking for his left forefinger, and that when they finally do take the finger back to Star-City the Gods there will be able to resurrect Lacori, and that then Lacori can return to earth and help undo the evil wrought by Tanteli.  This is the closest thing in all Bergonian religion approaching a promise of a future deliverance.  There are of course many stories-- even a few contemporary movies-- about people scouring the earth questing to find the finger. 

In all Bergonian civilizations since 2500 BC the preferred method of disposing of the dead  has been cremation.  The smoke from the pyre carries the spirit skyward.  But in lieu of a proper cremation, a body disposed of naturally by carrion-eaters (the Tibetans called it a sky-burial) is quite proper.  The Bergonians (somewhat similar to the Navajo) have a loathing of deadness, and prefer to eliminate deadness, rather than giving it "perpetual care" in tombs and graves.  Carrion-eaters do this well, cleaning the world, and thus manage an important part of the huge complex cycle of life.


rev. 6 Aug 04