The Deeds of Mung
This story is in the public domain.
Once, as Mung went his way athwart the Earth and up and down its cities and across its plains, Mung came upon a man who was afraid when Mung said: “I am Mung!”
And Mung said: “Were the forty million years before thy coming intolerable to thee?”
And Mung said: “Not less tolerable to thee shall be the forty million years to come!”
Then Mung made against him the sign of Mung and the Life of the Man was fettered no longer with hands and feet.
At the end of the flight of the arrow there is Mung, and in the houses and the cities of Men. Mung walketh in all places at all times. But mostly he loves to walk in the dark and still, along the river mists when the wind hath sank, a little before night meeteth with the morning upon the highway between Pegana and the Worlds.
Sometimes Mung entereth the poor man's cottage; Mung also boweth very low before The King. Then do the Lives of the poor man and of The King go forth among the Worlds.
And Mung said: “Many turnings hath the road that Kib hath given every man to tread upon the earth. Behind one of these turnings sitteth Mung.”
One day as a man trod upon the road that Kib had given him to tread he came suddenly upon Mung. And when Mung said: “I am Mung!” the man cried out: “Alas, that I took this road, for had I gone by any other way then had I not met with Mung.”
And Mung said: “Had it been possible for thee to go by any other way then had the Scheme of Things been otherwise and the gods had been other gods. When MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI forgets to rest and makes again new gods it may be that They will send thee again into the Worlds; and then thou mayest choose some other way, and not meet with Mung.”
Then Mung made the sign of Mung. And the Life of that man went forth with yesterday's regrets and all old sorrows and forgotten things — whither Mung knoweth.
And Mung went onward with his work to sunder Life from flesh, and Mung came upon a man who became stricken with sorrow when he saw the shadow of Mung. But Mung said: “When at the sign of Mung thy Life shall float away there will also disappear thy sorrow at forsaking it.” But the man cried out: “O Mung! tarry for a little, and make not the sign of Mung against me now, for I have a family upon the earth with whom sorrow will remain, though mine should disappear because of the sign of Mung.”
And Mung said: “With the gods it is always Now. And before Sish hath banished many of the years the sorrows of thy family for thee shall go the way of thine.” And the man beheld Mung making the sign of Mung before his eyes, which beheld things no more.