By Adam Myers
In the very long, long ago, (or maybe in the soon, soon to be), there lived a curious creature whose name was Mawulf.
Now Mawulf was curious in two ways. First, he was very curious looking. He had two tiny black eyes (good for seeing in the dark), two tiny hands with four sharp claws each (good for digging holes and tunnels) and a tiny body covered with soft brown fur, good for keeping him warm wherever he might go.
The second way he was curious was … well, just that: He was very, very curious. He wanted to see everything there was to see and go everywhere there was to go. When he was young he would use his sharp claws to tunnel right underneath the back garden fence to explore the green fields and hills that lay beyond.
His mother used to call for him: “Mawulf? Oh, Mawulf? Where ARE you NOW?!”
And Mawulf would poke his head out of a tunnel, a tunnel he had dug to the top of a hill on the other side of their valley, and call back, “I am way over here, Mama, don’t worry, I’ll come back soon.”
But his Mother did worry, for everyday Mawulf went further and further away from home.
One morning, at breakfast, she said to him, “I worry about you, my young explorer. Everyday you dig your holes far and far and then far some more. I fear one day you may dig so far that you will dig your way completely through this world and fall right off.”
“Don’t be silly, Mama,” said Mawulf, “There is plenty of world to dig and I want explore. I want to burrow to strange new places and meet strange new people. They will tell me of the life of them and I will tell them of the life of me. I will tell them of the newness of our land. I will tell them about the stars in our sky. And, of course, I will tell them all about the many delicious types of Breakfast Cereal we may choose to eat in the morning-time.”
You see, children, this may seem strange to you, but in Mawulf’s land breakfast was taken very seriously, being regarded as the most important meal of the day. Also, they were accustomed to a choice when it came to the cereal one ate in the morning — and Mawulf’s people were very proud of their cereals. There were cereals made of wheat and corn and oats, cereals that tasted sweet and savory and of fruit and chocolate, cereals of all colors and cereals of all shapes. Hundreds of combinations available each and every sun-blessed morning …
The sky was bright with smiling clouds on the day Mawulf left to explore the world. To dig his way to all the wonderful places he had longed to see ever since he was young.
“So, I am off to see the world Mama,” said Mawulf. “Wish me well.”
“I do wish you well,” said his Mother, “But always remember, when you meet new people be sure to be polite. Tell them of our cereal, but also, ask them of their cereal. Give them stories of our Pops and Crispies, of our Chockula and Wheat Frosties but make sure you hear their stories, as well, because sharing is just as important as digging, you know.”
His Mother reached across the breakfast table and held his tiny claws in hers, “Be careful, my young explorer, she said, “You are wise for one so young but the world is both a very big and a very small place. Dig both deep and shallow and always remember the difference between the two.”
“Oh Mama, you worry so,” laughed Mawulf. “The world awaits and there is so much to know. I will tunnel far and far and far again. In the Land of After-Sea, I will ask of Mirrors. In the Island Kingdoms, I will ask of Origins. In the Giant Land, I will ask of many things …of Clocks and Stones and Colors and Faces. On the Mountain Top-ness, I will ask of Done-ness and When-ness and Now-ness. When I find the Oldest Orchard, I will ask of Me. Wish me luck, Mama. Good-by!”
And with a final wave, Mawulf burrowed into the ground to find the world.
And Mawulf did find the world. He dug his way to many bizarre and wonderful places. He also met many bizarre and wonderful people. It seemed that every time he popped his head up from the ground in some strange new land he would make a new friend.
One day he met a small dog.
“Good morning, new friend Dog,” said Mawulf with a polite bow, “I come from a land where we have many delicious types of Breakfast Cereal to choose from. It is a pleasure to meet you.”
“Good morning and a pleasant bark to you, new friend,” said the Dog. “It is a pleasure to meet you, too. In my land we have many delicious types of cheese and meat and rolls and bacon. Although breakfast is a very fine meal indeed, we prefer lunch.”
“Thank you for telling me of your home and food,” replied Mawulf, “But there is much to see so I must dig again now and be on my way. Good-by, friend Dog.”
And with that Mawulf tunneled away.
One day he met a small cat.
“Good morning, new friend Cat,” said Mawulf with a polite bow, “I come from a land where we have many delicious types of Breakfast Cereal to choose from. It is a pleasure to meet you.”
“Good morning and a pleasant meow to you, new friend,” said the Cat. “It is a pleasure to meet you, too. In my land we have many delicious types of bread and sauce and wine and noodles. Although breakfast is a very fine meal indeed, we prefer dinner.”
“Thank you for telling me of your home and food,” replied Mawulf, “But there is much to see so I must dig again now and be on my way. Good-by, friend Cat.”
And with that Mawulf tunneled away.
And so it went. Mawulf had many fine adventures and met many new friends.
Mawulf was so excited and so happy with his exploring that began to dig faster and faster. He wanted to see everything, everything, everything there was to see.
He became so worried that he wouldn’t be able to see it all that he tunneled quicker, quicker, quicker and went farther, farther, farther.
Faster and faster and faster he dug and dug and dug, until …
Well, this is when our story gets a bit sad, children. So if you need to stop reading, do it now.
As we all know, Moon hides underneath the horizon of Earth when Sun comes up to play. Moon nestles up to Earth, hugging the rim, waiting for the night.
And that’s where Moon was, snuggling Earth all cozy, on that fateful day when Mawulf did what his Mother had warned him about so many years ago. He tunneled his way right through the world and popped out the other side!
He would have fallen right off, too, into outer space, just like his Mama said, if Moon wasn’t there, snug against the Earth.
But he was digging so fast that he didn’t even realize he had left Earth and was really digging through Moon instead. Eventually, he dug right through Moon as well!
Mawulf poked out his head. There were absolutely no people anywhere, nothing but a starry, starry sky. He was very confused.
“Where is everyone?” Mawulf called, echoingly. “Hello? Would anyone like to chat about Breakfast Cereals? Hello?” Puzzled, he went back the way he came, through his tunnel and popped his head out. But strangely, there were no people to be found there, either.
“Hello? Hello,” he called. But no one called back.
You see, it was late: Moon had already moved towards Night and was high in the sky. All the people that Mawulf knew were far, far away on the world below.
“Where is everyone?” he echoed. “Hello? I come from the land of a tasty and nutritious breakfast? Hello?”
He was quite perplexed.
You must understand, children, that Mawulf never realized he was actually on Moon. He reckoned he had only dug too far in this world, to some strange and barren place. He tried digging new tunnels, desperate to get home, but every time he poked his head out he seemed no closer to where he needed to be.
Faster and faster he dug. Faster and faster.
He dug so many tunnels that Moon, being so full of holes, began to disappear.
First a quarter of Moon went away … then a half … then almost all … until … there was nothing left of Moon but one big hole in the sky.
Now as sad and lonely as Mawulf was, he still remembered what his Mother always said about being polite, no matter where you go. Mawulf figured that even though there were no people to complain, it would be very rude to leave nothing but one gigantic hole, no matter where one may be.
So he began to fill the holes back in. First a quarter was filled up, then half, then … after some time, Moon was all back again.
Hard work it was, it took him a whole month. When he was finished, Mawulf looked around and called out, “Hello, hello?”
But still, he could see no people.
“Fiddlesticks,” he sighed, “I guess I dug the wrong way. I suppose I shall have to start again. Maybe this time I will find my way home.” Once again he dug and dug and dug until there was no more Moon left in the sky. And once again … he filled it all back up.
But he was still no closer to home.
“Fiddlesticks, I guess I must try again.”
So it goes, children, even to this day, every month Mawulf digs away Moon, then fills it all in again, looking for home.
But don’t be sad, children, for Mawulf made many new friends on his journey. They all miss him dearly and want to help him find his way back.
So if you ever hear a dog howling at the moon (“Maaawuuulwoooooooof!!”) or a cat screeching at midnight (“Meeeowulfrreeeech!!”) … don’t be scared.
It’s only Mawulf’s friends calling out to him up in the sky, trying to guide him home.
And if you listen very carefully, you may even hear his Mother’s voice riding on the nighttime wind:
“Mawulf? Oh, Mawulf? Where ARE you NOW?!”
Adam Myers is an artist, writer and educator based in Seoul, South Korea, and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Story and art copyright (c) 2009 by Adam Myers.