Topic: The Brightest One - A Mareep Myth
To: PEFE Staff
Subject: Pokémon Folklore
My interviews with wild members of the Mareep family (From Johto Route 32, Floccesy Ranch, Kalos Route 12 and Panolia Ranch)
about their evolution line's culture, lead to several recollections of the following folktale. Consistent accounts confirm that this myth attempts to explain the origins of Polaris, the brightest star in the night sky. Many members of the Mareep line rely on said star for navigation during nighttime hours when separated from their flock.
The following is one of the more prominent versions of the myth. While variations of the story exist, they generally tell the same tale altogether. Also, the word "Sheep" used frequently, is a catch all term referring to any member of the Mareep family (Mareep,
Flaaffy and Ampharos).
THE BRIGHTEST ONE
A Mareep Myth
A long time ago, there lived a caring Ampharos named Aris.
Aris diligently watched over his flock, a thousand sheep in number. Every night, he counted them up. Always making sure they were all there before he fell asleep himself (Some say the counting helped!).
Despite it's large size, his flock never lost a single member. Any predator that dare try to snatch an unfortunate sheep away would be struck by his almighty Thunder. If a poor sheep were to wander away and become lost, Aris would light his tail - said to be the brightest of any Ampharos - a beacon that could be seen from anywhere. All they would have to do was follow it, and sure enough, they would find their way home.
But while his own flock was safe, Aris knew that out there in the world, there were countless more sheep out in the world who were lost in the dark without a light to guide them home. That no matter how bright their flocks' Ampharos' beacons shone, they weren't bright enough to pierce the night.
The thought of this saddened him greatly. His loving flock took notice, and gathered together to think of a way to help him somehow.
“If you stand on top of a hill,” one smart Flaaffy mused, “It's much easier to see another sheep's tail glow!”
“That's true!” A Mareep agreed “Perhaps...if we got Aris somewhere higher than that, anymon could see his beacon shine!”
Yet another Mareep nodded along, liking where the plan was going. “It would have to be the highest place of all.” They added. “But where would that be? And how would we get him there?”
The first Flaaffy thought hard, gazing up at the evening sky, just as the first stars began to came out, shining like so many sheep down on the Earth.
“I think I know just how.” She announced.
The flock gathered to explain to Aris, who listened patiently. But with an understanding smile, he responded with a shake of the head.
“It's a wonderful idea,” he replied, gently. “But I don't think there's anything tall enough I could climb to reach the sky, let alone the stars themselves!”
“You're right,” The smart Flaaffy nodded sagely. “Not yet, there isn't.”
“Yeah!” A Mareep piped up. “We figured it out! If we all climb on top of each other...”
“We'll make a tower! A tower to the stars!” Another Mareep finished, eyes sparkling in wonder.
Aris was taken aback. “A tower? But...what if you fall and hurt yourselves? And one that large, you might end up scattered to the farthest fields!”
“We know the risks.” The Flaaffy replied, a determined expression on her face. “We're all in agreement. You've done so much for us, Aris. It's time we gave something back.”
Without a word otherwise, the gathered flock began to form a stack. Mareep upon Flaaffy upon Mareep, stretching higher and higher into the sky. Pokémon even miles away stopped what they were doing for a few moments, gazing in awe at the sudden appearance of a thin line stretching into the heavens.
Aris watched as, after what seemed like hours, a bright light shone from the top of the tower.
“That's it! They've reached the stars!” The poor Mareep on the very bottom of the tower managed to strain out. “Hurry, Aris! This is your chance!” Another one added.
He wasn't much for climbing, but Aris knew that he would never forgive himself if he squandered this opportunity his loving flock had extended to him. Carefully, he began to climb the tower, the stacked sheep bleating encouragement as he scaled them carefully.
He climbed past the treetops, the highest he had been the few times he had attempted to scale them as a Flaaffy.
He climbed past the clouds, a few very surprised bird Pokémon staring at the tower at they flew by.
He climbed past the peak of the mountains, beyond where any ground-dwelling Pokémon had been before.
Soon enough, he was in space, all of the meadows in the world stretched out below him. Although he was tired, Aris could not stop to admire the view.
Onwards he went. Now so far up that he had passed the moon. How much further was it?
Looking upward, the Ampharos saw the top of the tower, the smart Flaaffy who had made all of this possible gazing down at him cheerfully.
“Come on! Just a bit further!”
Even with his body aching all over from climbing so far, her encouragement was all he needed to scale the last few sheep. Holding out a hand, he reached up to grab the Flaaffy's own outstretched hand as she hoisted him up, and onto the vast celestial plane.
He had made it!
But at that moment, a strong gust of wind suddenly blew in on the otherwise clear day. The Mareep bleated in alarm as the stack began to wobble, just as the strength of the brave sheep on the bottom finally gave out as they collapsed.
At the very top, up in the stars, the smart Flaaffy and the others bleated in fright as the tower began to fell backwards.
“NO!” Aris yelled with a start, reaching out to try and grab the Flaaffy's hand and save them. But he was just out of reach. With a last terrified bleat, the sheep began to fall.
Across the world, Mareep and Flaaffy rained from the sky. Thankfully, their thick wool stopped them hurting themselves as they hit the ground. But they had a larger problem than that. How would they find their way back home?
Aris then remembered the very reason his flock had worked so hard to get him up here in the first place. Raising his tail, the orb at it's end began to shine, as bright as it ever had.
Down below, the slightly dazed flock craned their head skyward, a familiar intense light that had always been their to guide them home shone high in the sky, leading the way back to the safety of their meadow.
All he could do was shine his light. He had lost track from how long he had been among the cosmos, his former home an impossible distance below him. The cost of becoming a beacon to all of the world's sheep had come at the cost of isolating himself far away from everymon that he knew.
More than that, he was sick with worry for his faithful flock. Could they see his light? Would it guide them home again, as he had any time a sheep had been lost? He was always relieved when a sheep emerged from the dark night, his luminous tail being the light in the darkness that had brought them back to him. A feeling that he would never know again.
Or so he thought.
From the surface far below, a small glint caught Aris' eye. Then another. Bright lights were springing up one after another, steadily growing in intensity. What could be doing that, he wondered? It seemed to be coming from...
The Ampharos rubbed his eyes in shock. It was his flock! From down below, they were all signalling with their own tail orbs back up at him, their combined might bright enough to be seen from his cosmic perch!
No longer feeling so alone, and almost overwhelmed with joy, he began to count the lights, as he had counted sheep every night before.
Far below, the flock shone their light skyward, as instructed by their new flock leader. The smart Flaaffy was now a smart Ampharos, just like Aris. As it had been her amazing idea for their leader to ascend to the heavens to watch over all the sheep in the world, the flock had unanimously voted for her to take his place.
As she gazed up at the sky, a new light straight above shining brighter than any other, the Ampharos smiled. Even though she had no way of knowing, she knew that Aris could see them.
If you're lost during the night, cast your eyes skyward, and look for the brightest light. That's Aris, still among the stars, shining his light to guide lost sheep home. Shine your light back if you wish. He'll see it for sure, and be happy.
Because now, every sheep in the world is his flock.
Including you, too.