What if you lived in a small village, and in this village there was a beautiful stream. This stream flowed effortlessly through a majestic forest and the air was fresh with the crispness of mid-spring. Everyone loved to walk along the stream and observe its natural and wondrous beauty.
At the edge of the spring, it was said, was a magnificent waterfall. Some had journeyed there and seen it first hand, but no one had ever jumped....no one had taken the leap of faith...except for one man.
The enchantment of the spring is like a spell cast upon the villagers. The spring sustains them, brings them new life. Feeds their bodies, their minds, and their spirits. They use it to nourish themselves, refresh themselves, and give life to the seeds that they cultivate. So it is no wonder why the children and even adults are so fascinated by the story of the Great Fall.
It is said that a long time ago a young boy was born into the village at a time when men were of the warrior clan. The warrior clan was the first group of people to drive out the primitive natives and settle a colony in the village.
The land had not yet been entirely explored, and it was prophesied that a young boy would be born amongst the people who would be a pioneer of men. He would fearlessly explore all the unknown territory and be triumphant in his battles with the remaining natives. The boy’s name was Gabriel.
Gabriel grew up rather quickly, learning all the essential skills of a warrior as swiftly and precisely as any boy that had come before. Gabriel was raised by his mother and the elders, as his father had died in battle before he was born. He was graceful, dignified, intelligent, and rambunctious. His energy was free and unstifled. He was totally fearless.
That is, until the day of the Jaguar attack.
Gabriel and his mother sat watching the mountain goats grazing in a field near their home on a warm and sunny day in early spring. The goats bobbed their heads up and down as they slowly and methodically grinded the tough grass with their mouths.
Every now and then one goat would bump heads with the other and a fight would ensue. They would clash their horns together in a powerful collision until one had enough and backed off. Then the winning goat would pleasantly go on eating his grass while the other one walked off with its head down in shame. It was a comical yet profoundly interesting sight to behold.
As Gabriel wandered by the goats, some would watch him glaringly, some would rear their heads as if ready to attack, and others would simply walk on by. Gabriel had grown into a strong young man by this time, and was not afraid of a silly mountain goat. There were far greater and far more terrifying beasts to look out for, like the infamous Jaguar. The Jaguars were known in the village for not only killing many a mountain goat, but also attacking and even killing the villagers themselves.
Gabriel’s mother had warned him not to stray too far away and he had promised her that he would not, but the sight of something in the woods caught his attention and attraction. It was a beautiful girl, wearing almost nothing. Gabriel remembered the stories of the forest nymphs and the magic they could perform. He had always fantasized of being with the nymphs and having anything that he could desire. He saw this as an incredible opportunity and ran off into the woods to find the girl.
As he wandered through the thick brush, he could smell a scent of fresh flowers and sweet vanilla. He knew this wonderful smell was indicative of the nymphs, and his heart began to pound with excitement. Gabriel knew he was getting close.
He came to a clearing in the path and could make out the faint noise of a nymph giggling impishly. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a breathtakingly beautiful girl step out from behind a large oak tree. She had only small leaves covering her and had skin and hair that shown with a golden light.
The nymph smiled coyly at Gabriel, making him blush with a combination of shyness and nervous excitement. He had never seen a sight of such profound beauty in all his life. He wanted her. No. He needed her.
The nymph stared into Gabriel’s eyes for what felt to him like an eternity and then quicker than the blink of an eye spun around and began to run off into the distance. Gabriel hastily ran after her with all the speed he could possibly muster.
He saw flashes of her golden skin echoing through the maze of thick trees and brush and hunted them down like the x on his treasure map. Eventually he grew tired and bent over to catch his breath. Just then the nymph reemerged.
“Gabriel...” She said softly, in a voice so gentle it could have just as easily been the wind. She smiled once more, a seductive grin, and slipped into a shroud of darkness. As Gabriel walked closer, he saw that this shroud of darkness was, actually, a cave.
The first tinges of fear set in.
"Should I go in after her?" He thought.
"Mother said to not wander too far, and the sun will be setting soon."
His mind began to shout reasons for him NOT to go in. But the fire in his heart could not be dampened, and no excuse could make him go back. He was going in.
As Gabriel walked into the cave, he saw that the blackness within was pure. There was NO light. Not even the faintest hint of a spark. Nothing. He began to second guess his decision, but his legs carried him onward despite his mental hesitation. There was no turning back.
He continued to feel his way through the cave and suddenly JUMPED when he felt a cobweb brush past his finger tips! Only a cobweb, he thought, as his mind spindled and spun up images of massive man-eating spiders big enough to consume him in a few painful, flesh-ripping bites. A chill ran down his spine.
Just then, he heard the nymph’s precious giggle once, and a tiny shimmering sparkle of light. His hope returned and he followed the light, mesmerized by its other-worldly beauty and charm.
As he approached the light, he could feel the room begin to get hotter. He could sense a presence, but it was not the presence of the nymph. No, this was not a benevolent presence. It was much darker, much more sinister than that.
He continued to walk in a half-frozen, dreamlike motion, hoping to hear the soft laughter and smell the sweet perfume of the comforting nymph. But the nymph was no more. Instead, there was darkness, and a deep growl. Gabriel jumped in a startled haze and brushed against something furry only to feel the sharp sting of claws digging into his chest... Jaguar!!! He turned and began to run like he had never run before.
As his feet pounded the cave floor he heard the paws of the Jaguar close behind. He could hear the claws as they scraped the hard rock, a sound he likened to nails on a chalkboard. Sweat poured down his face and dripped down his chest into his fresh-opened wound. The pain stung like a thousand bee stings. It was like the pain caused by the horse’s whip and forced him to run even faster as he narrowly escaped the swinging claws of the cat on his heels.
Finally, he emerged from the cave shrieking in both terror and delight. He tore through the brush in a frenzied, mindless craze, too scared to think and definitely too scared to look back.
He kept going as the brush tore at his chest wounds, causing even greater damage and pain. He cried in agony and rage as he somehow swept through the forest more swiftly than even a hungry cat.
As he reached the end of the tree line and was about to reach the field where his mother was, he heard her voice calling his name from the forest. He stopped to listen and hear it more clearly and then suddenly thought of the Jaguar. He spun around to see if it was behind him, but it was nowhere in sight. Then panic struck.
What if the Jaguar found his mother!
He began to run after the voice, hearing his name echoed through the forest. His heart pounded fiercely in his chest like a deafening drum as adrenaline surged ferociously through his veins. Quiet down mom! He pleaded in his mind, hoping she would stop yelling and attracting attention. As he continued to run with seemingly no energy left, a feeling of dread began to overcome him.
Then he heard the screams.
He ran faster and faster as though floating on air, and the screams grew louder and louder. By the time he came to the place where his mother was, there was only a long stain of blood leading away into oblivion. Gabriel fell down and sobbed harder than he had ever cried in his life. He wanted to die.
Gabriel was found the next day in the forest by a group of friendly tribesmen from a neighboring clan. He was unconscious, dehydrated, and in poor health.
Strangely enough, there was a young mountain goat laying beside him, keeping him warm.
The tribesmen carried him back to the village where he was seen by the medicine man. The medicine man did all he could to bring Gabriel back to good health, but he was showing no signs of recovery. As the medicine man continued to work through the night, the mountain goat came back to Gabriel’s side and laid with him as he slept.
The next morning, Gabriel awoke.
When he opened his eyes, he saw the mountain goat staring down at him, a soft look of care and compassion in it's eyes. This was a bit of a shock and scared Gabriel, but the medicine man explained to him that the goat was his friend, a Guardian Spirit. Gabriel wasn't so sure about the goat being his friend, but decided that he would put up with it for now since it had shown him so much warmth and friendliness.
“What shall you name your goat Gabriel?” Asked the medicine man.
“Well, I don’t know. I haven’t given it any thought really.” Gabriel said halfheartedly.
“Well give it some thought. Get your mind off your troubles my boy. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself, and I know your mother only wants you to be happy. The essence of her spirit is still strong with you, but you can only feel it when you let go of the pain.”
Gabriel pondered this and realized deep down that the medicine man was right. He had to change his focus and pull himself out of his pain and misery. He had to do it for his mother, but more importantly, for himself.
“What’s that, my son?” asked the medicine man.
“I’ll call the goat Abraham,” said Gabriel proudly.
“Very well,” smiled the medicine man.
Soon Gabriel’s health began to return and, slowly but surely, his strength and vigor for life returned as well. He grew quite close with the mountain goat and with the medicine man. This was his new family, and although he missed his mother dearly, he loved his new family very much. As for the forest nymphs, he knew to never trust them again, and to never give into his lust and temptation.