Papa Duende’s Last Days

The temple was constructed high among the great cedar trees of the forest, hanging there so ominously, yet so beautifully crafted by the hands of the faithful.

Fantastic sky broke recklessly through the gaps between branch and leaf. Kneeling before their leader, a beautiful visage of silver fur and leather, mangled through the centuries. He was all theirs.

A new breed of trust was founded here, alongside a blessed covenant. Tiny hands forged a sacred bond with the One they knew to be worthy of their trust and devotion.

The temple entrance was crowded with offerings made to his majesty, and fearful cries were heard, as Pagan crowds were thrown back in their half-hearted attempts to steal this bounty of succulent sacrifice. No flesh was burned here, though teeth were lost.

Looking now to the ground, sparsely littered with clumps of snow and patches of dying grass, His Divinity called out, “Hey there! I see you!” At this, the crowds would scatter, and the enemies would be driven out.

When night would fall, and the frosty winds became unbearable, the Most Potent would vanish, allowing the congregation to return to their homes, as ice overtook the settlement. Harsh times were these, but the people lived in stability and peace. Each afternoon, believers would return to the cedar forest, and He would bee there waiting. The Master of Wall would be ready to accept any sweet offering, punishing dissenters with ostracism and taunting.

This was fair. This was life. This was temporary.

The invasion occurred in June. One bright afternoon, the people quietly headed up to the forest with their usual offerings. However, they were not alone; Heavy, booming voices flooded in from all around, shouting and accusing somebody… of something?

As in a dream, it passed so quickly. His silver hair and tattered leather jacket was all they could see, between the bodies of the large men, dragging His Majesty away. The children ran to save him, but upon reaching the settlement, all fell still and silent. 

The temple had fallen from the trees, and the offerings of candy and cupcakes were scattered upon the snowy floor of the darkening forest. Fearing for their friend, the children ran home, to confess to their parents and tell them of their ruined treehouse, and the small man whom they had helped to survive in the woods. They told of peppermint and butterscotch and chocolate chip cookies stomped into the dirt by heavy boots.

Eventually, after a season of political hysteria, and attempts by the local government to silence concerned parents, the First Forest was placed under “PRESERVATION STATUS”. Entry finally, formally denied.

The children never visited the site of the fallen temple again. But the greater trip is that no child truly left the forest that day; their spirits remained there, with Him, among the ruins. 

And if this sounds familiar, that’s because this is a part of our history. Yours and mine. That bright, white afternoon, in the middle of June, was the official last act of human aggression toward the Cedar Goblins. The day would forever be remembered as Papa Duende’s last stand, and the end of an age.

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