Gourmilayne, Who Ate the Universe
A Banglefadrigaran Folk tale
As Recorded By Jennifer Diane Reitz
Long whenawhere ago, in the ancient and forgotten land of Andrugyngaea, lived there a renowned Artist of Foods, the great Gourmilayne of Campaspollo.
Gourmilayne served the Empress Andrugost, Matriarch of all Andrugyngaea, by the skilled preparation of wondrous and intricate feasts for only the most special of occasions. There was but one thing to which Gourmilayne excelled, apart from the creation of culinary wonder, and that one thing was to eat.
Gourmilayne, the Great and Renowned Sculptor of Cuisine, could, and would, eat anything. Gourmilayne would eat pies and meats, fruit and bark, small stones and bits of leaves in the grass. For all the great Skill which Gourmilayne possessed, there could not be found one tiniest bit of companioning gustatory discrimination within.
After one most marvelous feats, the Empress Andrugost, filled with good and more than a little of the wine of the age, decided to reward the great Gourmilayne for such superior effort. In a shriek of laughter, the Empress proclaimed Gourmilayne to be the Matriarch of all Andrugyngaea for the entire following day. Though greatly regretful of her decision in the morning light, an Empress is Bound in all her Words, and this her proclamation became Law.
Gourmilayne, was overjoyed.
Gourmilayne had no love of politics. The great Artist cared not for power or glory, law or society, sex or riches. Gourmilayne seized the power of the office of Matriarch with but one, coldly calculated Purpose; the entire collective wealth of the State could buy one very great amount of food. So Gourmilayne ate.
Gourmilayne ate through the morning, while the treasury was liquidated. Gourmilayne ate through the middle of the day, while the newly impoverished Mistresses of the court stripped the hillsides of any last organic matter, trying to satiate such royal appetite.
Through this all, Gourmilayne swelled and grew, to proportions beyond any ever seen before or known since.
Gourmilayne began to blot out the sky.
Gourmilayne ate through the early evening, scarcely aware in such Gluttony of mindlessly devouring the now revolutionary armies of the Court, as they bravely swarmed to defend the last remaining corners of the disintegrating Empire.
Gourmilayne ate the Land, and the buildings upon it, drank the lake and ripped vibrating chunks out of the mountains. Gourmilayne grew, and with it grew also Gourmilayne's appetite. Gourmilayne ate all of Andrugyngaea, and all living there. Gourmilayne ate all of Banglefadrigar, and all the World, and drank the very oceans.
Still was Gourmilayne unsatisfied, and so the stars were plucked with swollen paws and forced into the Ravening Maw.
Gourmilayne ate all the universe, until there was only Gourmilayne filling all of time and space.
It is true, after all, that one is what one eats, and Gourmilayne looked upon a self that literally was the universe.
Gourmilayne's body was composed of all the stars and worlds and realms. Gourmilayne saw the universe exactly as it was before!
So it was then with a sickening realization that Gourmilayne Understood. If Gourmilayne's body was the universe, then where was Gourmilayne?
Identity resides in the brain, it is said, and Gourmilayne's head fell in a gutter. Children, unknowingly, kicked it until it was lost in the forest, where it was ultimately eaten by ants.
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