In the previous chapter we realised that surprising similarities existed between squirrels and mankind. For example, squirrels had their own religion (Squirrelity) and spoke their own language (Squirrelish), just like the homo sapiens. Lele, the chieftain of Modos village, a most upright and admirable squirrel, was even the epitome of the spirit of the scientific pursuit of knowledge, the quality so passionately espoused in the Enlightenment era in Europe. In his conviction that the pregnancies of his daughters were strong and irrefutable evidence supporting the notion of evolution, one could reasonably believe that had he not slipped into unconsciousness on both occasions when attacked by his daughters using nuts, he might have, like Newton, been inspired to ponder the workings of our splendid universe and thus discover the laws of gravity, making tremendous contributions to science. However, that was not to be.
Squirrels were by default members of Squirrelity from birth. Individuals who endorsed Squirrelity were known as Squirrels, and you couldn't exactly be a squirrel without being a Squirrel (get it?). When newborn squirrels turned one month old, they were brought into a chapel where a priest would sprinkle holy water over the babies and announce them officially baptised. The ingredients which went into the production of holy water were no secret, for they were carefully recorded in a widely circulated recipe among squirrels. Basically, the holy water contained just mineral water in which nuts plucked from the third tree standing outside the chieftain's home were soaked (the squirrels believed that their lucky number was 3).
But enough about squirrels. Today, we are going to learn about chipmunks, the not-so-distant relatives of squirrels. Chipmunks, like their arboreal cousins, believed in the presence of the Nuts God. However, chipmunks' religion was known as Chipmunkism, and if you believed in Chipmunkism, you were known as a Chipmunk, which meant that chipmunks couldn't really be chipmunks without being Chipmunks, a scenario which was parallel to that of the squirrels. Why were there different names for their religions, you may ask, if essentially members of both believed in the same God? Well, that was because while the Chipmunks had faith that the Nuts God did indeed exist, they did not appreciate the idea that their God had sent His son into the mortal world just so that they could be absolved of their guilt by soaking in the ethereal blood of King Nuts, which was spilled for the sake of their freedom from sin. The Chipmunks' stand was that they needed no redemption, because they firmly believed that they had committed no wrongdoing, and thus they mocked their tree-climbing cousins for even entertaining such a possibility in the first place. Are you puzzled? Well, let me go on. There was an allegedly true story which was popularly shared among squirrels and repeatedly told from generation to generation.
A long, long time ago, the two ancestors of squirrels (from which the rest of the species would originate) lived in an isolated place named the Nede Garden. The garden was beautifully scenic, a little piece of haven where it was eternally spring, and where sweet and fragrant flowers bloomed forever. Their ancestors, a mona named Mada and a mena (translation: female squirrel) named Sunset, spent their time happily admiring the heavenly views surrounding them and playing hide-and-seek, which was really an extremely boring game since they could only hide behind trees and shrubs all the time. One day, they became totally sick of their unexciting life and decided to experiment something entirely new. They were apparently tempted by a snake which slyly lured them into a realm of joy which they had hitherto not experienced. Against warning from the Nuts God, they defiantly plucked an apple from a tree (one is inclined to wonder what pleasure one could possibly gain from such an activity, and what good reasons the Nuts God had for forbidding them to engage in harmless fruit-plucking), and they tasted the fruit with relish. The Nuts God was furious and thus condemned Mada and Sunset to mortality. They were to be burdened with sin till kingdom come, for they had acted against His word, and to disobey Him was the greatest crime. Therefore, for thousands of years, their offspring had to bear the weight of their unpardonable error. But one day, the magnanimous and selfless Nuts God sent His son to Earth, to rescue all the squirrels from sin.The Chipmunks fiercely critisized this story, calling it 'ridiculous' and labelling it 'gibberish'. The prominent Chipmunk philosopher, Chippie Xoddo, once launched a harsh and lengthy tirade,
"[It is] absolutely absurd and embarrassing that our beloved cousins actually display foolish confidence in the verity of this laughable story... I think that they are highly insecure creatures which desperately need assurance and affirmation of the love Nuts God harbours for all of us, and this only goes to show how unworthy they are of our God's love... They refuse to believe that our God loves them; they childishly demand, 'Prove it!' And thus they have invented this silly story about God's sacrifice, as if love necessarily means sacrifice. They have cooked up this tale about how they have done wrong (and to have done wrong by picking a fruit from a tree! How funny!), and how our God, in His benevolence, has still forgiven them. They seek their own proof in their own imagination, which is stupid. What if there is no sacrifice? What if there is no mistake, and thus, no forgiveness needed? Does it mean that there is no love? We, the Chipmunks, have complete faith in our God. We believe that He loves us no matter what. We believe that we have not sinned, and there is no need for Him to give up His son for our well-being. Even if we have erred, I'm sure Nuts God will not punish us by condemning us to eternal suffering of sin, because if He is truly generous, He would not subject us to such a heavy penalty... King Nuts is a purely fictional character. There is no need for God to prove His love; we can already feel it in our hearts, and we accept it into our lives... If you seek God, then embrace Him wholeheartedly when you find Him; do not ask for justification, do not ask for evidence, do not ask what He has done for you, because then it only goes to show that you doubt God's sincerity. And if you doubt His love, why look for it in the first place? Ask no questions, and let Him into your soul... It's a wonderful spiritual connection."Anyway, now that we have acquainted ourselves with the basic differences separating Chipmunkism and Squirrelity, we must notice that despite such fundamental disparaties between their religious systems, Chipmunks and Squirrels still shared uncannily similar fates. For example, in The Babble - a religious book which contained all known stories involving the Nuts God - an important and highly revered book in Chipmunkism, the following story was lovingly recorded. Read it patiently and see if you shudder at the end of the tale from the many coincidences between it and that which was told in Chapter 1.
Once upon a time (all ancient stories begin this way), there was a Chipmunk named Etivel, (translation: 'gentleman') who was travelling with his concubine, Xiaoroo (translation: 'lucky'). The journey was long and winding and tiring, and it proved too much for a delicate female like Xiaoroo. The sun was setting and the earth was encompassed in a soft river of twilight, and they were gently caressed by the fragile rays of light emanating from a distant corner of the skies.
"Come," whispered Etivel into the wind, "Let us rest till the night is over." And so they entered a humble wooden lodge and planned to spend the lonely night there, for there was no one who would take them into his house. Just then, a feeble old man entered, having just finished a hectic day at the fields. He threw a cursory glance around the place, and his gaze settled upon Etivel and his young mistress. He asked politely, "My dear Sir, whence did you come, and where are you going?"
So Etivel replied quietly, "We are now heading to the house of the Lord. But there is no one who will accommodate us tonight. We have some bread and acorns for ourselves, for your maid, and for the young man who is with her, and there is no lack of anything."
And the old man responded, "Oh, I wish you peace! Let all your needs be my responsibility, only do not spend the night here, for it is dangerous." And so he brought Etivel and Xiaoroo to his little abode, and they cleaned themselves, and ate and drank to their hearts' fulfilment. As they were silently enjoying themselves in their shared solitude, suddenly they heard some commotion outside the old man's door. It turned out that some perverted men had assembled outside. They were psychologically twisted and had bizarre sexual proclivities. They spoke to the master of the house, "Bring out the man who has arrived, that we may get to know him carnally!"
But the old man, a respectable figure of few words, spoke with dignity and laudable gallantry, his words ringing loud and unmistakably clear, "No, my brethren! I beg you, do not so wickedly! Seeing this man has sought protection under my roof, do not commit this outrage. Look, here is my virgin daughter, and the man's lovely concubine: allow me to bring them out now. Humble ye them, and do with them as you so deeply desire, only to this respectable man do not so villainous a thing!"
However, the visitors would not heed the old man. And so Etivel took his unwilling concubine and delivered her to them, and those men raped her endlessly throughout the night and inflicted an immeasurable amount of pain and torture on her. The day then began to break, and finally they let her go, after their carnivorous appetites had been sated.
Then the woman staggered to the door as the day was dawning, and fell down, for she had become too weak, too devoid of strength to support herself. She had not a morsel of will to live anymore, and, lying prostrate on the warm earth, she awaited Death to perch on her shoulders.
When her master woke up in the morning, and opened the doors, preparing to continue his journey, there his mistress lay, motionless and wordless, with her hands on the threshold. And he said to her, his voice containing unspeakable expressions of love, "Get up now, my dear, and let us be going." But she did not answer. And so Etivel lifted her up, and went back to his place.
When he reached his home, he fetched a sharp knife, laid hold of his lifeless lover, and divided her into twelve pieces, limb by limb, with incredible precision. He then sent her throughout the territories of the country. After he had disposed of her body, he resumed his journey to the house of Lord, which now, he felt, was less far away.