WHY THE GRASS IS GREEN • by Shawn Douglas Cunningham

There was once a Kingdom of Giants, and the King Giant prided himself on his supply of wine and beer. However, the Queen Giant did not look at the wine or even the beer with longing. For drink, she put her green gaze upon the sky oceans. The King Giant thought this was folly since the Sky God drank up the sky oceans for herself. “The clouds never fill with water,” The King Giant would say, “And thus the Sky God has no reason to empty them and bless you with drink. Therefore, you would be wise to put your green gaze elsewhere.”

And so the Queen Giant would look upon her fields of yellow grass, imagining they were prettier. The King Giant scolded her again. “Accept things as they are,” he’d say, “And if you can’t, then you should drink with me!”

“You should not drink so much,” the Queen Giant had warned him, “for your drinks are a poison that make you far too rowdy.”

Shaking his head, the King Giant would drink until he had washed her wise words away from his mind.

Then one day the King Giant grew rowdy and fell upon his face, smashing a village. When he woke up, he rubbed the dirt off his chest and went home to get more drink. A few survivors of the village banded together and invaded the King Giant’s home, but by the time they burst down the door the King Giant was nowhere to found. They did, however, find the Queen Giant asleep in her bed. Their anger fueled them. Using the nightstand, they rose like boiling water. Once upon her bed, they surrounded her and raised their spears up high.

Out in the yellow fields, the King Giant woke up and made his way home. Stepping inside, he found the Queen Giant close to death. “I shall have my revenge!” he swore, but the Queen Giant reached out and grabbed his arm.

With her dying gasps she begged him, “Please do not kill, but instead work to make my memory live on.”

“I shall,” The King Giant promised, holding her hand until she passed on.

That night he promptly got drunk.

When he woke up, the King Giant found himself again out in the field. This time, he cried. Suddenly, he agreed with his wife and whispered to the yellow grass, “Why are you not pretty?” and an Imp rose from the ground. Hands on his hips, the Imp looked at the King Giant and told him, “Do not ask why the fields are not pretty, ask what you can do about it.”

Sighing, the King Giant went home. He saw his wife’s green eyes and got an idea. With a heavy heart, he plucked them from her skull and presented them to the Imp. Nodding, the Imp told the King Giant, “I shall color the grass with her green eyes.” With the help of the wind, the yellow grass turned green, and the King Giant felt as though his wife were alive again.

A few days later, the King Giant saw the grass was turning yellow once more. He called upon the Imp, but the Imp told him the grass now loved the drink his wife loved. The King Giant called upon the Sky God, but got no answer. With tears in his eyes, he thought all was lost. The Imp offered, “Why don’t you sacrifice the drink you love most?” Laughing, the King Giant refused.

As the hours passed and the grass yellowed, the King Giant fell asleep in the fields and his wife’s visage fell upon his eyelids. With her dying gasps she begged him once more, “Please do not kill, but instead work to make my memory live on,” and her words rattled in his ears.

Upon waking up, the King Giant made a sacred vow to stay sober. As the sun drew high into the heavens, the King Giant offered up all his beer and wine to the Sky God in exchange for her sky oceans. A cloud flew down from the heavens, and the King Giant placed each and every bottle upon it. As the cloud flew back into the heavens, the King Giant looked down at the yellowed grass.

With all the wine and beer for herself, the Sky God did not have any reason to drink up her sky oceans. Thus, the sky oceans filled up the clouds so much so that they had to be emptied.

And when the sky oceans fell and the grass turned green, the King Giant smiled. Once more and forever, his wife was alive.

Shawn Douglas Cunningham is a recent graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University, a native of New Jersey, has been previously published by Vinculinc, and loves all artistic expressions of the human experience. Some people call him Mr. Finney. He even likes some of those people.

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