Once upon a time… Well actually once upon a time before time actually existed… people used shadows to determine when they should eat and sleep and engage in various activities like games involving the swapping of dinosaur teeth. They calculated the fatness and thinness and stretchiness and lucidness of each shadow, though no one was ever very precise, and no one ever minded. It was a happy time. A time when running late for something usually involved the lack of sunshine (resulting in a lack of shadow).

Living amongst these shadow time keepers was a boy named Chester. He wasn’t especially good or bad. He was just typically mischievous as little boys often are. He also had a propensity to mess with things he’d been told not to. And he’d been warned to stay far, far away from Swullian mountain.

Swullian mountain was the highest place on earth, with a tip reaching straight up to the sun. No one had ever climbed it entirely as one would need to carry an awful lot of water to make such a lengthy trip. And carrying that many pots of water (since plastic was not readily available during that time) up that steep of a mountain, for the 7.5 days the trip required, was quite impossible.

And yet, because he’d been told not to think of it, Chester thought of it. And continued to think of it. And finally, during all this pondering, he happened upon the keen notion of tying the necessary pots of water to a preposterously long rope, which he could then use to pull up and lower the pots of water as needed.

He then put his plan into motion by stealing all of the ropes in the village and talking Shelby Darkins (who’d had a crush on him since he sprouted freckles at the age of 6) into helping him tie them together. He also surreptitiously grabbed as many pots from the village storehouse as he could find and went about tying them to his new extensive rope. Shelby helped him fill the pots and they both headed over to Swullian mountain.

They arrived about 5 pm (though for them it was really just “middleish shadow” equating “dinnerish time”) so Shelby excused herself to join her family for dinner. And Chester started his journey.

He climbed.

And climbed.

And pulled up his pots.

And climbed.

And when an occasional ledge came along, he rested (which was quite wise of him considering the 7.5 days the trip required).

And upon sufficiently resting he climbed some more.

By day 6 he was ecstatic, knowing full well he’d climbed further and farther and higher and longer than anyone had ever managed. And by day 7 he was positively overcome with joy. He began to dance along the tiny ledges as the point of the mountain began growing smaller and smaller.

As he climbed higher he realized the point was narrowing down into the shape of a pencil tip (not that pencils existed in that time, but for sake of a modern audience that description will have to do).

He also realized this narrow tip was starting to crack. This was disturbing to him for as you may well imagine, a journey of 7.5 days would mean a sickeningly long fall.

But he kept climbing. And at some point he had to start slowly pulling himself up the tip, as ledges had completely disappeared. And as he slid closer and closer to the top he noticed the light was starting to blind him and the heat was growing stronger.  Until he finally understood that the top of this narrow point held the sun.

Unfortunately he failed to realize this until the tip had almost completely cracked under the pressure of his weight. A few seconds later it crumbled and he slid back down onto the fatter part of the mountain, watching in horror as the tip collapsed, sending the sun catapulting to the earth, far below him.

It was really a beautiful sight, this giant fire ball hurling to earth. But it also meant there would be no more sun. And as a result no more shadows. Which forced the village people to come up with alternative solutions, which inevitably led to clocks, and wristwatches.

Another sun grew back in the old sun’s place but it took several years and by that time people had grown so attached to their blasted clocks and watches it just didn’t matter. Suddenly everyone had to be somewhere and time had grown more important than almost anything else. And that’s the way it’s been since.

But once upon a time… before time actually existed… people used shadows to determine when they should eat and sleep… and it was a good way to live.

-The End.