How the Demon Zalp Got His Name

sycamore

There once was an unnamed demon who sat perched atop a sycamore tree beside a river somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

The unnamed demon liked the texture of the sycamore bark and began rubbing his left shoulder against it. He liked the feeling very much and continued to rub against it for several days, until all the fur on his shoulder had been worn away and the skin was red and painful.

The unnamed demon didn’t want to stop, so he did the same with his right shoulder until all the fur on that shoulder been worn away and the skin was red and painful.

With no more shoulders left to rub, the unnamed demon became bored and decided to turn into a knife. The unnamed knife demon carved the names of his seven named brothers into the trunk of the sycamore tree as well as three circles to represent himself and his two unnamed brothers.

The unnamed knife demon then rested in the grass against the base of the sycamore tree, and watched a group of eagles circle overhead. One of the eagles was far smaller than the others, and every time it tried to catch a salmon one of the bigger eagles got there first.

The unnamed knife demon soon became very fond of the small eagle, for he too had been born far smaller and and less powerful than all of his brothers.

The unnamed knife demon decided he wanted to help the small eagle, so he turned himself into a breeze and rubbed his back against the brown feathers on the eagle’s chest. He liked the feeling very much.

The unnamed breeze demon waited until he saw a salmon reflected in the eagle’s eye, and then he wrapped his arms around the small eagle’s neck and pulled it down towards the water. It swooped down far faster than any of the other eagles, and sunk its talons into the salmon. The small eagle let out a triumphant cry.

The unnamed breeze demon hopped onto the water, wrapped its arms around the small eagle, and jumped back up into the sky. He was proud to have for once accomplished something. He liked the feeling very much.

The salmon’s tail slapped repeatedly against the unnamed breeze demon’s sore shoulders. The wet scaly smacks eased the pain and he liked the feeling very much. The unnamed breeze demon used his demon magic to keep the salmon alive so that the feeling would last longer.

The small eagle tried to land, but the presence of the unnamed breeze demon kept them it the air. The small eagle let out a distressed cry, but the demon was too distracted by the salmon’s therapeutic slaps to notice. The small eagle was not wise enough to let go of the salmon.

They remained in the air for several days until the unnamed breeze demon heard the laughter of his brother Zeep. Zeep was the oldest and strongest of his brothers and was named after the joyous sounds of a child he once had saved from a mudslide.

The unnamed breeze demon looked up at the small eagle, whom he had felt so much sympathy for, and saw that its wings were limp and that its head hung lifelessly above him. It had died of exhaustion. Its talons still held the salmon which the unnamed breeze demon had kept alive with it’s demon magic. The small eagle had never stopped hoping he would get to have it for dinner.

The unnamed breeze demon’s brother Zeep laughed some more and said “Brother, from now on you shall be called Zalp, after the sound of that salmon’s tail slapping against your back.”

Zeep turned into a knife and carved Zalp’s new name in the sycamore tree where Zalp had written the names of all his named brothers. He then drew an X through the circle that had represented Zalp before he was named.

“And this crossed circle shall represent the eye of the small eagle who was once your friend.”

Zalp carried the dead eagle down to the ground. He turned into a shovel and dug a hole and then placed the dead eagle inside it. The salmon still writhed in its grip. Zalp then turned into a pile of soil and spread himself over the the dead eagle’s body.

Zalp felt nothing and did not like it very much.