Before the gods came into the world was Tammana, she who sowed the seeds oflife and was herself the self-sown seed of life. Her gardens were the whole world and with her a race of seven beautiful girls walked the paths of the world garden, tending, watering, pruning and reaping. Each one was a radiant beauty, the sheen of sweat on their bodies reflecting the sun as they labored. One day, seven stars fell from the sky, and from them came seven strange beings to the outer reaches of the garden. Like unto the seven girls were they, but where the girls wore only the hair on their heads, the strangers wore curious fibers wrapped around their waists and heads. They spoke, but none of the seven girls could understand their harsh speech. The strangers became impatient, and began to grab the girls and lead them away. All but one, the youngest. She saw what was happening and ran away, through the depths of the garden and back to where Tammana was laboring. The seventh stranger pursued the girl who cried out to Tammana for her aid. Even so, the stranger caught her and led her back to the place where the stars fell; but not before Tammana heard the cries and came following. She came too late to the edge of the garden, where she saw only where her girls had left their spades and pruning hooks.
Seeing seven strange stars rise into the sky — a sight never before seen in all theyouth of the world! — she left her beautiful garden and went in search of her seven girls. For many seasons she went forth, even seeking for them in the heavens where are the stars; and in all those seasons, no one tended the gardens, and in all the dark World, the plants and flowers began to fade and perish. Tammana searched from star to star, coming at last to the place of seven stars together. There, she discovered her seven girls being held captive as wives for the seven strangers, gods of the brilliant and cold stars far above the warm earth of Gea! She pled with the lord of gods for the release of her seven girls, and he went to the World upon a falling star to see the place whence they had come. Indeed, a desert place it was! Cold and uninviting, and the beasts and people living there were perishing from hunger! Thus the lord of gods decreed that the seven girls should be allowed to return to Gea and tend its gardens, and he set a feast before Tammana and the seven girls. So grateful were they that they accepted wholeheartedly and reclined with the lord of gods at table and four courses were spread and Tammana began to eat his food, tasting the fourth course.
Alas that she took even one bite of this heavenly provender, had she but known theprice of it! Yet, before the seven girls could take even a single bite of the food, a great goose, grey as the stormcloud, flew into the banquet hall, having come all the way from Gea! He turned about in the airs above the table, and just as the seven girls reached out to the food, he loosened his bowels and sent down great gobs of green birdslime, which ruined the food. The lord of gods roared, could do nothing against the high flying bird, as he wheeled back and left the banquet hall, winging his way back to Gea.
The feast ruined, the fates of the gods entered the hall and spoke in thus wise: “Go,seven daughters of Gea, who have neither tasted the food of the lord of gods, nor have touched it.” And they were led out of the hall and taken back to Gea upon seven falling stars; and there they found themselves where they had left their spades and pruning hooks, and seeing what a dreadful state of affairs the garden was in, they immediately set to work tending it as of old. But of Tammana the fates of the gods said: “You have eaten one course of the food of the lord of gods, and must even bide in the heavens with the lord of gods as his wife for one season out of the four. You may return to Gea upon the New Year, but upon the New Year less three turnings of the greater moon, you must even come up into the heavens and bide here with your chosen lord.”
“Bitter indeed are the tears Tammana sheds for leaving her beloved gardens and herseven young girls, the daughters of Gea! For I can see that while I am here in the heavens, the earth will put forth no green leaf nor tender shoot nor flower nor fruit — all except for the pine and the fir, which shall be the promise of green life to the people of Gea, who will dance about the fir tree in the depths of this dead season. And they will know that Tammana returns anon and the grass shall green and the first flowers bloom again.”
And ever since, the seven girls have labored in Tammanas gardens throughout theseasons of life; and bidding farewell to their Lady when the leaves do fall down, they go to their rest and the peoples of the world know that, for a time, Life itself goes away from the World yet comes again in its own time.