Why Do We Dance in the Rain?

Answering life’s most impossible questions through the power of storytelling.

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Millions of years ago, when mankind was no longer new but still relatively young, there was born to this world a girl. She was no different from any of the other girls born at the time. Sure, she had her own unique attributes, but she didn’t particularly stand out in a crowd. She was just a normal girl, with a normal family and normal friends. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Now, by this point in history, magic still existed in the world. However, the magic was a commonality in everyday life, and so was generally ignored and forgotten. This usually wasn’t much of an issue, as most of the magical things were happy to just be with their own kind. Or, if they were the only of their kind, they were happy to watch the world as it grew and breathed and lived.

The girl knew nothing of this. Why would she? She was just a normal girl, after all. If no one else knew, why would she?

Of course, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, the girl did eventually learn of such things. The day she learned of such things was not a particularly special day. Just as any other day, the girl woke up in the morning a little after sunrise and hurried downstairs to begin her chores (because, back then, the entire day was spent doing chores). I would go through her list of chores, but it was a rather long list and I’m sure you don’t actually care about such details. So, just know she had already done quite a bit before the afternoon came, at which point she set out to gather herbs.

The girl wasn’t particularly excited to gather herbs, as it was a rather rainy day, but she knew better than to complain and was on her way in no time. The rain quickly soaked through her clothes, and before she even reached the woods where the herbs could be found, she was fed up. And after two hours of it not letting up, she found herself glaring at the sky.

“Would you please just stop?” She yelled into the rain. “I’m trying to do my chores, and you’re making my life very difficult!”

She, of course, didn’t expect the sky to respond, and she thought she was losing her mind when she heard a rumbling voice murmur, “I’m sorry, dear girl, I’m just so sad.”

The girl dropped her basket of herbs (which she would regret later when her mother yelled at her for it) and stared at the still-stormy sky. “Did… Did the sky just talk to me?”

A burst of wind blew into her, almost as if the sky had just huffed in annoyance. “Excuse me, I’m not the sky. I’m just Sky, with a capital S, thank you very much.”

The girl continued to stare at the sky—sorry, Sky—for a few moments before stammering out the first thing that came to mind, which just so happened to be, “Why are you sad?”

The girl heard a soft rumbling that she thought could be a laugh. “How could I not be sad? Every day, I watch the life that exists on the world below. It’s beautiful, really. I can see everything from up here: Every birth, every success, every smile. And though I never meet any of you down there, I still find myself loving each and every one of you, and everything that makes each of you different.”

Sky paused, and when the pause became too long, the girl asked, “So why are you sad? That seems like a wonderful existence.”

Again, the girl heard the soft rumbling of a laugh. “It would be. But I don’t just see the things that bring you joy. I also see your pain and fears and misery. I see you suffer, see your tears. And I’ve watched as each and every one of you eventually dies. It brings me such great pain to see any of you upset, but that pain is nothing compared to how I feel when one of you leaves this world.”

The rain came down harder and when lightning flashed, the girl recognized it as Sky lashing out in anger. And when thunder rumbled in the distance, the girl recognized it as a sob.

The girl swallowed down the sudden tightness in her throat. “I’m sorry,” she eventually stuttered out. “Is there any way… I mean, is there anything I can do to make you feel better?”

There was a moment of silence, then, “I really don’t know. No one has ever asked me that before…” Sky trailed off, but the rain seemed to lighten ever so slightly.

The girl pondered this for a moment. “Well…” she began, “Is there anything that we humans do that brings you joy? Anything in particular?”

Another moment of silence, then, “Well… I always enjoy watching you humans dance.” The girl was surrounded by a soft rumbling of laughter. “The way you all move in time with your music, how your faces light up, your laughter reaching all the way up to my ears…”

The girl didn’t let herself think about how terrible of a dancer she was, or how she had eventually given up on dancing and just learned how to play an instrument instead. She didn’t let herself debate how she’d never been the best instrumentalist either. The girl didn’t think about any of this as she took a deep breath and started hopping around.

“What are you doing?” Sky asked in surprise.

“Dancing!” The girl called up in the middle of what was supposed to be a leap but was really just flailing. “To cheer you up!”

There was only a second of silence before Sky shook with its laughter. The girl grinned and continued her manic movements. It was difficult dancing without music, but after a bit, she realized that she did, in fact, have music. Every sound of life and movement in the world around her was music, and she danced along to its beat.

The girl only stopped when she realized the rain had let up. She blinked and looked around at the dripping trees, then looked up at Sky.

“Do you feel better now?” She asked.

“Yes,” Sky said in the whispery voice of the wind. “Thank you.”

The girl grinned. “No problem! Any time you feel sad, all of us down here will be happy to make you happy again!”

Sky chuckled, and the sound moved like a comforting wind. “You should be off. Your family is waiting for you to return.”

The girl gasped. “Oh! That’s right!” She took off running but skidded to a stop after just a few paces. The girl turned to look at Sky and waved. “I’ll talk with you again later!” She called up.

“I look forward to it,” Sky said, and the girl was off.

The girl ended up telling everyone of the tale, and from that day on, whenever it rained, they would all join together and dance in it so that Sky would be happy once again.

 

Why Are Styrofaom Pieces Called Peanuts?

Answering life’s most impossible questions through the power of storytelling.

Long ago in the medieval era, there was a sorcerer (who just so happens to be the same sorcerer as the one from our last story) who needed to send his mother a gift for her birthday. He had used his magic to put together a very nice sculpture of a couple of horses (because his mother loved horses), but he had made the sculpture out of clay and was worried it would break on the way.

The sorcerer searched his whole house for a way to solve his predicament, but could find nothing soft and cushioned to place around the sculpture when he shipped it in its box. He didn’t want to use his clothes because he needed them to wear, he didn’t want to use blankets because he needed them for the coming winter, and he didn’t want to use his pillows and cushions because he quite liked them.

A little girl (who was the daughter of the town’s nut farmer) knocked on the door of the sorcerer’s house and entered when the door swung open (with the help of some of the sorcerer’s magic). She walked into the kitchen of the house, only to find the sorcerer sitting at the table and staring at a sculpture inside an otherwise empty box.

The girl, confused, asked the sorcerer what he was doing. The sorcerer sighed and explained his predicament, how he had nothing soft and cushioned to pack inside the box around the sculpture. The girl frowned and asked why he would not use his blankets and pillows to wrap the box, to which the sorcerer responded with the former explanation (along with a very meaningful death glare).

The girl thought for a moment, then snapped her fingers. She reminded the sorcerer that he was, in fact, a sorcerer, and therefore had magic (to which the sorcerer responded with a very obvious “duh”). The girl then pulled a handful of peanuts from one of her apron pockets (as she had come to the sorcerer’s home to deliver her father’s peanuts) and set them on the table.

The little girl pointed at the peanuts and told he sorcerer to turn them into something useful. The sorcerer looked at the girl like she was crazy, but complied all the same. He used his magic to puff the peanuts out and soften them into something useful. The result was a pile of puffy foam pieces.

The sorcerer was ecstatic. He immediately packed his sculpture and sent it to his mother on a dragon (the only way to send a package when you’re a sorcerer), all while thanking the little girl. The little girl just rolled her eyes and told him she wanted a pile of those foam pieces to sell. The sorcerer agreed and turned all the peanuts she was carrying into foam pieces.

The little girl started a major company based on selling what she called “foam packing peanuts.” The sorcerer came in every Tuesday (because was busy with “wizardy” stuff every other day) and turned piles of peanuts into the packing peanuts. The sorcerer and the little girl split the profits and became rich through their packing peanut company.

And the sorcerer’s mother loved her sculpture, though she was more than a little upset that her son didn’t take the time to visit.