“The Deadly Names” / Memorable Fancies #1809

 [“On a mountain whose name had been forgotten,…” – W.S. Merwin]

The mountain struggled to remember what the tribe had once called it, long ago. Yes, now it remembered: “High-one”; it translated as that. The mountain liked that name. And “Snow-place.” That had been a good name, too. And sometimes the tribe had also called the mountain “Death-bringer,” when ice came and people slipped off its face, over its edges.

But that was long ago and now the tribe seemed to have forgotten those names; what the mountain now heard was “timber place” and “granite mine.”

And then it heard “hill”; and then it heard nothing.

Malice-cover lightened

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