10. The falling sky

(Herero, Namibia)

Long, long ago the great ones up above dropped the sky on to the earth, because the people had become wicked and impious. Almost all human beings lost their lives. The sky pressed heavily on the few that had been left, so heavily that in their despair they sacrificed a black sheep.

That gesture was effective: the great ones up there pulled the sky high up again and kept it there until this very day. However, something has changed. In ancient times people could climb up to heaven, but this is no longer possible. Why not? The great ones have put keepers on guard where sky and earth touch each other, huge giants: one-eyed, one-eared, one-legged and one-armed creatures. All that our bodies have double-sided, theirs have only one-sided. And their arms and legs have no articulations either.

If, in spite of the rule, a human being would try and climb up to heaven – there at the horizon, where earth and sky touch each other – the giants seize him and drag him down again. Ever since, heaven has become inaccessible to humans.