The Mother's Day: Over in Strangerside, The Quarreler, one of the few to escape the implosion of the realm Bensalem, waits for The Mother's Day to roll around to make his usual joke:
"Ever notice how whenever someone creates a holiday for the oppressed - say, Outsider's Day - someone in Authority has to come to create a holiday for the oppressor, like Horizon Day? It's tiresome. It's just the same with Mother's Day; next thing you know the Authorities create Father's Day so no one feels bad."
Once a Moon or so, Strangers and Outsiders do listen to what the The Quarreler has to say, but most Everwayans just shake their heads, and point out that The Quarreler just doesn't understand how things work here in Everway. There's gender equality in Everway, not gender oppression. There's also no Mother's Day or Father's Day, here. There is only The Mother's Day.
The Mother's Day is as old as the city; indeed, it founded the city in a very real sense.
The legend of The Mother's Day began when Everway was just a collection of huts surrounding The Walker's Pyramid. The Pyramid was quite new in those days. In fact, our story begins the morning The Walker laid the final stone upon the seventh tier of her Pyramid. "One left, she thought. Time to go away for a while and find it."
The Walker descended the Pyramid. As she did so, she heard a baby crying. The Walker found a child left all alone, a baby girl in a wicker basket who had been placed on a stone on the first tier of the Pyramid. The basket's bottom was wet. So was the baby's.
The Walker then looked out at the Pyramid priests.They were staring at her. "Where did this baby come from?" The Walker asked.
"We're not sure" shrugged Half Moondance, the chief of the Pyramid priests. "A fisherman found her in the Sunset River, fished her out, and brought her here as an offering."
The Walker snatched Half Moondance's fine cloak right off his shoulders. She tore it in half. With one half of the robe, she cleaned the child. She used the other half to line the basket, and put the baby inside it.
The Walker turned and began climbing back up the Pyramid. Slowly, surely, steadily, keeping a strong hold on the basket until she reached the seventh tier. Then, the Walker took the baby girl out of her basket. She held the her up, and faced her out towards the scattering of huts that would one day become the great city of Everway.
She turned the baby to face each of the four directions.
The child saw smoke rising from the huts, and beyond them fields and trees. She also saw small fishing boats bobbing in the Shimmermoon Bay. The baby smiled.
"All this is yours." The Walker said. "I hold you up now, as you will hold up others."
"Help them. Heal them. Ensure their children come into this world safe and sound."
"I show you your world. Your name will be Mother First."
"Take three three gifts with you: Awareness. The Healing Arts. Responsibility."
This is how the Mother family came to be the first great family of Everway.
"Teach other Mothers this ritual."
Sources: This legend was inspired in part by the Moses story (which relates to other wood and wicker Mesopotamian and Egyptian arks). Another inspiration was rite of the Roman goddess of childbirth, Levana. Those familiar with the film Suspira by Dario Argento, and with its inspiration, Suspira de Profundis and "Levana And Our Ladies Of Sorrow" by Thomas DeQuincey will be familiar with De Quincey's significantly darker view of this goddess.
For Alice T. Till.