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|Anansi the Face Stealer|
May 27, 2013
Bai Mudan was the most beautiful spirit of all spirits. Her smile made the sunset seem dull and bland. Her hair was like gold that shone brighter than the moon. Bai Mudan was never satisfied with one gender. She wanted all things, and all things wanted her.
Once upon a time, Bai Mudan descended to the mortal realm. She stood on a cloud and declared to all the nations and all the people. She would love one person, the person who would prove to her that Bai Mudan meant most to them. The entire world fell in love with Bai Mudan on sight sending it back into darkness. Nations battled, husbands slew wives, mothers slew sons. All to gain the love of Bai Mudan. The madness of love took no hostage, and the oceans ran red with blood.
Bai Mudan looked upon the chaos and laughed. It resonated with the air, creating colours of such beauty none have been able to describe them. The attention was her true love, and she had grown bored with the compliments of the other spirits. This was her new pleasure.
She descended upon a kingdom burned to the ground. The last remaining members where two princes (brothers) when she asked the youngest why he was worthy of her love, he slew the other and presented the bloody blade. She laughed and using the blade beheaded him.
Anansi saw this and grew angry. Very very angry, he liked the humans. Sure they had flaws, but they showed intelligence and he liked that. Many spirits shared his feelings, but they were afraid of Bai Mudan none wished to earn her wrath. Regardless (many quiped) it was the Avatars' duty not theirs. When Anansi would point out that the Avatar was still a child and would be unable to do anything for over a mortal decade they would simply shrug saying "It can't be helped". Frustrated with the lack of compassion Anansi took matters into his own hands.
Anansi took a mirror from the mortal realm then, he traveled through the Spirit World to find the rankest and foulest of all bodies of water. When he found it he began to sing to himself how beautiful it had made him.
"Oh pond oh stream, you made me more than a man I went in, now how I beam with beauty greater than Bai Mudan..."
And so on he sang; he sang until Bai Mudan heard him. Angry that Anansi would dare to compare his disgusting looks to her own. She appeared before him cautious of some trap; holding her nose from the rank smell of the water. "Anansi, why do you proclaim to be so beautiful? And why do you sit by this foul stream?" Anansi had his back to her so she could not see his face.
Anansi without turning laughed "My dear, beautiful Bai Mudan", he began, "I was once so ugly, but then I discovered a secret. Now my beauty now knows no bounds, look at me." He turned, holding up the mirror in front of Bai Mudan (who had never seen a mirror) and she gasped in awe. Forgetting all her worries and suspicions about him.
"OH ANANSI YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL! YOUR TEETH ARE WHITER THAN STARS! YOUR HAIR FLOWS LIKE A RIVER! YOU MUST TELL ME YOUR SECRET!"
Anansi sighed "Oh I can not, a secret shared is no secret at all". Bai Mudan leans close to him and says, "Now, Anansi, I know we have not always been friends, but if you share your secret with me I will swear to do anything you wish.", Anansi scratched his chin.
"I don't know, it's a mighty big secret. Making people so beautiful that all creation would stand to admire them."
Bai Mudan preened her eyes shining like stars "Oh, Anansi, I'm sure you know that I've always found you the perfect figure of a man. Why don't the two of us lie by the side of this stream then I will make you forget about any reservations about you telling me your secret."
So they did. They lied by the side of the stream and cuddled and laughed getting all silly. And once Anansi had what he wanted she leaned to his ear and whispered to him, "So, what is your secret?"
Anansi says, "Well I wasn't going to tell anyone, but I'll tell you. It's this stream here by our feet. Swim inside it and you will be the most beautiful being to ever exist."
"That?" she asks wrinkling her nose in disgust from the smell.
"Aye, that and I should warn you the smell is only worse when you go inside it...unless...", Bai Mudan snapped back to look at him.
"Tell me Anansi what?" she demanded, anger flashing across the most beautiful face in the Spirit World.
Anansi smiled, "Unless you leave your face here with me, then you could swim and become the most beautiful spirit ever without the smell...but you probably wouldn't want that..."
"NO! NO! I WANT THAT VERY MUCH!" she declared, removing her face and diving into the muddy stream. Anansi picked up the face and put it away. Bai Mudan swam in the filth for a while then emerged onto the bank scrabbling for her face. "Anansi where is my face, I wish to see my beauty," he threw her a slab of rotten wood.
"THIS IS NOT MY FACE!" she screamed, "GIVE ME MY FACE ANANSI! I WISH TO BE BEAUTIFUL!"
He leaned towards Bai Mudan's rotten face and whispered "You are not beautiful, you never were, nor will you ever be. Beauty is compassion and love. All you are is filth!," he kicked the wood sending Bai Mudan into the muddy waters again. She tried to scream curses at him but the water went down her throat, making her fat and bloated.
"KOH! KOH! KOH" it declared. Anansi grabbed her by her neck and threw her into the human world. Where she landed with a thunderous "THUD" in the middle of a battle field. The humans stopped their fighting to stare at Bai Mudan writhing in the mud.
"BEHOLD! THIS IS WHOM YOU KILL FOR!" Anansi sang.
"Vile worm!" they exclaimed, "What mockery is this?"
Bai Mudan screamed, mud still in her throat. She coughed out "Koh! KOH! KOH!"
"Its' name is Koh!" they cried out, "The beast is named Koh!" they declared. Koh coughed up the last of the mud and cried out to Anansi;
"FACE GIVE ME MY FACE!" when they heard this, the humans ran away in terror of Koh crying out;
"Beware! Beware Koh! The face stealer, he steals your face when you look away!" Koh screamed out into the sky. He begged Anansi for forgiveness, but none came. His begs became bargains, which became threats which became curses so foul blackness spread across the land he lied on. Yet no matter how hard he screamed all he heard was silence.
Bitter Koh crawled into a hollow tree. If you return to that tree now you will see him. Cold and hateful, be careful not to show any emotion or he will steal your face. He has a lot of faces, but none were as beautiful as Bai Mudans'. When no one can hear him, he whispers curses swearing vengeance against Anansi. Many do, though few ever get it. Those that do always regret it.
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