Long, long ago, in the days when dinosaurs roamed, and the earth was filled with lush, green grass, the first people were born.
The gods shaped them from the mud of the earth, dropping them on the soft ground and giving them shelter from harsh weather.
In the time before humans, the gods were lonely. They would eat and sleep and occasionally play bingo at the top of a volcano. But they never experienced joy or happiness like we do today.
So they created humans.
The gods would make houses and villages for the people to live in. They would give food to the people when they were in need.
The gods were so generous they gave the people the most valuable resource of all.
Now, when you first think about it, doesn’t it sound a little silly?
But, back then, they didn’t have the same animals as we do today. They wouldn’t be able to make clothes or blankets without the soft animal skins we have now.
The gods saw the humans in distress. They were cold at night and made clothes out of tough alligator hides. So they took action. The gods thought up something that would solve the problem. Something common, that could be found everywhere.
And so they created leaves.
Lots and lots of leaves.
The people used the leaves right away. They made soft clothing to wear that was a million times better than the scaly lizard skin. They stuffed pillows with them. They even used sticky tree sap to glue them together and make roofs.
The gods gave them everything.
But, the problem was, the humans were still not satisfied. They demanded more from the gods. Better food. Nicer homes. More recipes for Italian beef stew.
The gods were astounded.
“They must be put under control. They want more, and they are greedy. If we give them more, the people will only want more. What can we do?” said Civerous, the most powerful of the gods.
“We must take away their things,” replied Nethran, Civerous’s son. “Maybe then they will realize that to survive they must do things for themselves.”
Meanwhile, the people were gazing at the palace of the gods, perched at the top of the tallest volcano.
The palace shone with gold and bronze statues, depicting the gods themselves.
“We must have that palace to ourselves,” said the human leader, Sarah. “We will drive the gods out of the palace and live in it. We shall climb the volcano. Assemble the Warriors!”
People rushed off to gather the Warriors, the strongest men and women in the colony.
Sarah and the Warriors climbed the steep volcano to the god’s palace.
Sheggera, the eldest god, spotted them coming before they were even halfway up the volcano.
She shouted to the other gods: “The humans are coming to attack us!”
The gods rushed into the room.
“You are right, Sheggera. They have come to attack us. My son was right. We must take away what we have given them,” Civerous spoke up. “If they attack us, we will fight back.”
And the humans did attack.
And the gods did fight back.
A great war began, gods on one side, humans on the other.
It waged on for many years until the gods came to a decision.
“We shall use the last of our strength to drive them down the volcano. At whatever costs,” Allegro, the wisest of the gods, said in a set tone.
“Aye!” said all the gods in unity.
“It is decided then,” said Sheggera. “We will drive them down the volcano!”
And so the gods used the last of their strength. They piled it together and strained and sweat.
The volcano shuddered with power as hot lava started to come together into a big glob.
The human army stopped and stared at the lava spilling over the side of the volcano, heading straight for them. They screamed, dropped their weapons, and bolted down the volcano.
Civerous yelled after them: “Because of your ignorance, we shall take away what we have given to you. Once a year, we will take away your greatest resource—leaves! And in that time, you will be without clothes, without shelter! This was caused by you!”
The humans retreated down the volcano and never set foot there again.
The gods, however, died at the top of the volcano that day, having used up all of their remaining strength.
And so it is that every year, in the coldest days, trees lose their leaves. And so it is that the gods are no more.