The strongest one

The strongest one

Once upon a time, during a cold winter, some Nanai boys went out to play and skate on ice.  They played, and they skated, and finally they started fighting. One boy, Nameka, beat another one, Kurba, and started ridiculing him and shouting out, “I’m the strongest one! All bow down to Nameka!” But then he slipped, fell and hit the back of his head against hard ice. Kurba then told him, “See, Nameka, the ice managed to beat you. You are not the strongest one after all, the ice is. You should bow down to the ice”.

Nameka leaned down and asked, “Listen to me, Ice! Is there anyone in the world who is stronger than you are?”

“The Sun is stronger than me. When the Sun shines on me with all its might, I melt,” said the ice.

Nameka and Kurbu approached the Sun and bowed down to him. Then, Nameka asked the sun, “Is there anyone stronger than you are? I am stronger than Kurbu, the ice is stronger than me, and you are stronger still, for you can melt the ice. Are you the strongest of all?”

“No, I am not,” replied the Sun, “the cloud is stronger. He can blot out my rays while moving across the sky.”

Hearing this, the boys decided to visit the cloud. They had to climb the tallest mountain to get there. They got frozen, soaked with rain and eventually covered with a film of ice on their way to the top. Finally, they approached the cloud and bowed down to him. Then, Nameka asked, “Cloud, is there anyone stronger than you are? I am stronger than Kurbu, the ice is stronger than me, the Sun is stronger still, for it can melt the ice, and you are stronger than the Sun since you can blot out his rays. Are you the strongest of all?”

The cloud started thinking, but all of a sudden, a strong gust of wind blew the cloud to shreds. The sky brightened up, a rainbow appeared, all things became alive, and a majestic view from the top, from the foothills to the lagoon, opened up. The boys bowed down to the wind, and Nameka asked, “O mighty Wind, is there anyone stronger that you are? I am stronger than Kurbu, the ice is stronger than me, the Sun is stronger still, for it can melt the ice, the cloud is stronger than the Sun since it can blot out his rays, but you managed to blow the cloud to shreds. Are you the strongest of all?”

 The wind paused to think, but then Kurbu spoke, “Wind, you blew the cloud to shreds, but can you disperse this mountain or at least move it a single inch?”

The wind puffed his cheeks and started blowing very hard, trying to move the mountain, but the mountain wouldn’t budge.

The boys then bowed down to the mountain. “That’s it!” said Nameka. “You, Mountain, are the strongest of all!”

The mountain thought for a while and replied, “Actually, the tree is stronger that I am. It protects me from the wind, but its roots tear me apart from the inside.”

The boys then bowed down to the tree, and Nameka asked, “Listen, Tree, is there anyone stronger that you are? I am stronger than Kurbu, the ice is stronger than me, the Sun is stronger still, for it can melt the ice, the cloud is stronger than the Sun since it can blot out his rays, the wind is stronger than the cloud, but it could not move the mountain, and you are stronger than the mountain.  Turns out, you are the strongest of all, aren’t you?”

“Indeed, I am the strongest of all!” replied the mountain.

“Well, I don’t think so,” said Nameka, took out his axe and cut down the tree.

And then, the tree, the mountain, the wind, the cloud, the Sun and ice – they all bowed down to Nameka. Since then, Man has been deemed the strongest of all.