Well, children, if you all gather round, and sit quietly, I'll tell you the story of Mara's Tear and Shandar's Sorrow...
Long, long ago, long before your grandmother and I were were born, long ago, there were two young children growing up in a village far, far from here. They played together, and ran through the woods together, exploring their little world and learning to see things through each other's eyes. This was very different from their parents because Shandar was the son of Maldor, who was captured in a war and forced to work as a slave for the village baron. Their village and another both needed the land between them to feed the villagers, and fought and fought, until many of the villagers died. Maldor was wounded in battle, and left for dead by his fellows. He was captured and forced to work in the fields as punishment. Shandar was not allowed to play with Mara, but she was very small and the other children didn't like to play with her, so she played with Shandar against her father's command. And they learned that they were really not very different at all. They couldn't understand why their parents hated each other so.
Well, Shandar and Mara played together for many years, and learned to love each other as they grew up. They knew that they couldn't let their parents know, because it was forbidden for them ever to marry, since they were from different villages and the war was still going on. They tried and tried to figure out how they could be happy together, and finally decided that they must run away from their village. They would try to make a new life for themselves in another village, far, far away from where they grew up.
One night, while planning their escape, they were discovered by the town guards. Shandar tried to fight them, but they tied him up and dragged him away to the prison inside town. Mara was taken home, and her father was very angry with her, and told her that she could not leave their home again. He went to the house of another farmer, and asked if their son would marry Mara, so that she could never see Shandar again. The marriage was planned for the next week.
Shandar, meanwhile, was to be killed for daring to be with Mara. He was beaten, and placed in a stockade. He was placed in a stockade, and they were to hang him the next day. When Mara found out that Shandar was to be killed, she knew that she could never live without him, and climbed out her window and ran into the woods, crying and crying. She ran and ran, and soon was lost. It was very dark, because back then they did not have any moons in the sky back then to make it safe for little boys and girls. Soon she found herself in a part of the woods she had never been before, and sat down on a rock since she was very tired.
Well, the rock was a secret entrance to a cave where a very mean orc lived. When he came back from his hunting, he found Mara curled up asleep on his rock, and thought to himself, "Hmmm, a tasty little girl. I shall save her for my breakfast!"
He grabbed her and took her into his cave, moving the rock back so that she could not escape. She was sure to die, and tried to escape, but the evil orc just laughed and laughed at her, until she finally gave up.
When the villagers found out that Mara had run off, they were very worried. No one knew the woods very well, and all were afraid of the evil orc that lived there. Only Shandar was not afraid, and he begged and begged for the baron to set him free, so that he could go look for Mara. The Baron finally decided to let Shandar go, for no one else was brave enough to go and rescue Mara. So Shandar was set free, and he set off into the woods to go and rescue her.
Shandar searched and searched, but could not find poor Mara. Finally, he sat down on a rock to rest for a moment, and as he sat down, he noticed a piece of cloth under the rock. It was a piece from Mara's cloak! He realized that she must be under the rock somehow, and knew that the orc had captured her. He pushed and pushed on the rock, and finally was able to roll it aside. He climbed down into the orc's cave, but it was very dark, and he could not see anything. The evil orc, when he heard his front door moving, hid in the shadows to see what was coming into his home. When he saw that it was just a little man-boy, he grinned to himself and thought, "Now I have lunch, TOO!"
When Shandar came near, the orc grabbed him, and began to squeeze the life out of him.
Back in the village, the people soon realized that they were foolish to let a young man go off into the woods by himself. They gathered all of their weapons, and set off to find the two lost children. When they finally came upon the clearing near the orcs' cave, they saw a strange and wondrous sight: A slain orc near the entrance to the cave, and Mara holding the head of poor Shandar in her lap. Shandar had killed the orc, but not before the it gave Shandar a mortal wound.
Mara's tears flowed freely from her eyes and splashed upon Shandar's face, reflecting the light from the villager's torches. Shandar was filled with sorrow at the thought that he had saved Mara, only to lose her because of his own impending death from the battle with the orc. He cried out to Mara's namesake, the goddess of love, to help them.
The Goddess Mara recognized their true love and wept at their loss. Not having power over death, she could do nothing to save Shandar, but she knew that she could not let their love die. She reached down from the heavens and picked up Mara and Shandar in her arms, and placed them high in the heavens. They could be together always, and provide light in the dark night to others so that they may be safe from the evils in the world. The villagers were amazed at this sight, and vowed to honor the love of Shandar and Mara by learning more about themselves and their neighbors, so that the war that had been going on as long as anyone could remember would end. Shandar's sacrifice for the one he loved showed them that he was worthy of their respect, and that those from his village were just as proud and worthy as themselves.
And, that's why, children, every night we can see Mara's Tear and Shandar's Sorrow spending their lives together high in the heavens, lighting the way for all the little boys and girls like you.