A Taste Of Your Own Medicine
In the sunny days of spring, not long after the great turtle had stepped on Orrick, trouble came knocking on the gates of Sixrivers. Near the town was a bountiful orchard with fruits and nuts of every kind, and fat little creatures to hunt. To the hungry townsfolk this was a gleaming prize indeed! But it was not so easy to reach the harvest, because a great canyon separated the town from the orchard. Worse still, a terrible spirit lived in the canyon, and it caused the death of any who tried to cross.
This spirit was terrible and frightening, not because it was ferocious or foul, but because its face was so enchanting. It was so beautiful, once you saw it you couldn’t help but running pell-mell towards it… which of course, meant you’d jump straight into that canyon. We needed to put a stop to this beautiful beast, not just to reach the orchard but also because one after another our herd of llamas had been tossing themselves like lemmings over the cliff.
I was taking a turn in town, playing my harmonica, when Thousand-faced Agnimukha came up and told me, “Ken, I might know how to take care of that sight-siren. But I need to know what it looks like, and how are we going to manage that?”
I thought about this. Finally I struck on an idea. “Tell you what. My eyes are better than yours. We’ll just get close enough that I can see it and you can’t. You can keep a hold of me so I won’t run away and I’ll tell you what it looks like.”
We both agreed that the plan was a good one. Agnimukha and I walked up a hill that was a few miles away from the canyon so I’d have a good view. I squinted and looked and sure enough there was the beautiful creature perched on its cliff-seat. Now, I won’t tell you what it looked like because I don’t want to risk the words turning to pictures in your mind’s eye. But I will tell you that it was more beautiful than the sea, more beautiful than the first sunrise after midwinter, so beautiful that if there were a parade of angels they’d all be ashamed to stand next to a face like that. Of course the only thought in my head was to run as fast as I could toward it, but Agnimukha grabbed me just like he’d promised. I’m no weakling, but Agnimukha was a hundred times stronger than me at least, so it was no trouble for him to keep a hold of me while I told him what the Sight-siren looked like.
Once he knew, Agnimukha rummaged around in his bag of faces and found one that was just about right. He made himself look just like the canyon spirit. Once he’d done that, he closed his eyes and oh-so-carefully stumbled on down to the canyon’s edge. Sure enough, when the spirit saw its own face it was struck by its own spell! The sight-siren jumped up and ran right off of it’s own cliff. After that we had no trouble reaching the orchard, or with disappearing llamas.