I gave him my satchel and shoes as he asked me, then I shed my clothes as he advised me to do. "Wear this," he said, and he shed his own skin. It fell off in a pile on the soil floor looking like a tablecloth used in my home. When I clothed myself in his skin I no longer smelled like my home or the valley. Instead I became like the men on the mountain. I smelled distinctly foreign. I thanked the man and watched as he dressed himself in my own clothes. He said he would wear them until new skin grew on his back.
Holding my father's blade I cut what kept me from moving. I did not care to look whether it was a serpent's tongue or the branch of a tree.
The silver fish leapt from the water from his gurgling mouth came a bubble that solidified and dropped into my lap. Just as quickly as he had emerged, the fish plopped back into the water, leaving me to puzzle over this mysterious orb.
When the people of the soil touched my feet they fell back into the ground with shrieks and cries. Now I could reach the top of the mountain without fear of falling down.
A foreigner stopped me on my rise toward the mountaintop. He had one eye and loose skin that folded around his body like paper cloth. Laid before him was a set of colored tablets and sticks. "Stay for a game," he said to me. "After you win your game with me I'll let you go on your way."
Through the blind frenzy of earth and shadows I plunged my dagger into the creature's heart and watched as it melted into rain.
I pressed onwards to a safe haven where my father would be in good hands.
I watched as my magic needle pricked a hole in the tree trunk large enough for me to hide in. Without knowing where I had gone my pursuer stopped in its search disappeared, leaving behind an abundance of pears for me to take.
When I returned home Mother was not there. Instead, there was a man leaning against our door, sipping guava juice through a straw. He told me the lady of the house had left to search for her son, and that he had taken residence. I looked down on him and winced. His feet stank of manure.
"As a child, my son could dance along the soil so quickly that the men who died and live in the ground could not catch him. Prove this to me now,"
Without hesitance I lifted my pant legs began to dance in father's leather bottomed shoes. The soles breezed across the floor, cutting the mist with rhythmic motions. I then turned the ring on my finger and watched my father rise, soil shedding from his skin. His shaved face and clean hands stood against the paling crowd. This impressed the people who stood before me, as did the fact that my tongue did not bleed from the needle it held.
Everyone then stared through the guise of the false man beside me. The person, who acted as a substitute for my accomplishments, began to bite his nails in a rampant manner.
As the soil on me continued to turn into gold, the ground of our garden sprouted trees, fruits, and vegetables. My family and I stared in a daze as we watched our land grow rich and the people of the soil draw away.