Once upon a time, long ago, the earth was a different place, filled with many people, animals and other beings. Mother Thunder lived on earth. She was an old mother sheep, and she had one strong, sturdy son, a handsome ram named Son Lightning who was forever keeping her on her toes.
Like all the other creatures, Mother Thunder and Son Lightning lived together in peace and harmony, and the world turned -- quietly, steadily, easily. But as Mother Thunder's son grew taller and stronger, he did not grow calmer. His enthusiasm sometimes overwhelmed those around him. In his excitement, sometimes he leaped up and kicked, and sometimes those kicks went right through walls. In his joy, he sometimes rolled over and over, flattening flowers and vegetable gardens.
The people, animals, fish and birds grew tired of Son Lightning's wild ways, and so they complained to the king.
The king pondered the problem, and at long last he understood he had to do something to calm his kingdom. He called Mother Thunder and Son Lightning to his castle, and he explained to them that they had to move to the far end of the forest.
"You're causing too much of a stir," the king said. "If you go and live at the edge of the forest, Son Lightning can run, roam, kick and cavort all day long, and he will not cause so many problems for our people."
Mother Thunder nodded. She knew her son had a short temper, and sometimes, when he lost that temper, he kicked so hard that he knocked down trees. Once his temper flared so hot, he started a fire, and a whole farm burned to the ground. Another time his fury was so deep, dark and hot, Mother Thunder watched as all the animals ran and hid from him, afraid he might kill them.
She had tried her best. Every day she talked to him and begged him to take care. "Stop before you cause more damage," she begged him. "Think before you strike, son. You are so strong, your anger will harm others, and then it will harm you."
Son Lightning was not a cruel boy. He tried to control his temper. But he was not always successful. He felt deep regret when he harmed others, but some days he could not help himself.
So Mother Thunder agreed that they must move far away from everyone else, and she and her son set up house at the very edge of the forest.
And still, some mornings Son Lightning woke in a mood. "I'm angry that we're all alone," he shouted at his mother, and before she could stop him, he ran straight for the village, straight for the tallest houses and tallest trees, and he always struck with all the force he had.
As he grew bigger still, those temper tantrums caused trees to burst into flame and houses to burn to the ground, and sometimes the very earth was scorched by the force of his fury.
The people and animals continued to complain to the king. "That ram is trouble," they said. "That ram cannot live, or he will destroy us all.".
The king was troubled. He loved everyone and everything in his kingdom, and he loved Son Lightning, and he loved Mother Thunder, but he knew he must do something, or the world would suffer.
And so one hot summer day, the king called Mother Thunder and Son Lightning to his palace again, and he said, very solemnly, "I have decided that you can no longer live on earth with that son of yours, Mother Thunder. I must banish him to the sky."
"I cannot live without my son!" Mother Thunder wept, and the earth rumbled with her sorrow.
"Then you shall have to go with him to the sky kingdom," the king said. "I'm sorry. We love you, but there is no room on earth for such trouble."
Mother Thunder had no desire to leave this earth, but she understood. She could not let her son destroy the people and the other creatures of this earth, and she could not bear the notion of being far away from her son.
And so, once again, Mother Thunder and her son moved away, this time all the way to the sky. And there Son Lightning had room to roam and room to rage. The sky was vast, and at first he was simply filled with joy.
But as time passed, his temper returned, and some days he woke angry and could not help but lash out. Sometimes he reached so far that the zigzagging light of his fury streaked down from the sky and touched earth. Whenever that happened, the people on earth heard his mother storming at him.
"Stop! Please, my son," and she pounded her fists so the earth seemed to shake with her efforts to settle him.
As time passed, those lightning streaks stopped, and Mother Thunder's roar grew quiet, and people on earth relaxed, though they understood the outbursts would come again.
"Tell Me a Story 3: Women of Wonder," the third CD in the audiobook series, is now available. For more information, please visit www.mythsandtales.com.