I’ve always felt that this morning ought to be a single word, like thistle. Thismorning.
Thisevening, Thisafternoon and Thismorning. They could be three Norse brothers, the wild and ice-bred sons of Mother Night:
Thismorning slips the sun from beneath his mother’s bed. She has told him not to touch it while she is out wandering in the world, but Thismorning is wily and willful, and the golden bauble draws him as surely as any toy. He tiptoes into the darkness and tosses the sun up into the sky.
Thisafternoon, older, and the tallest of the three, is wakened by this sudden brightness. Annoyed and teasing, he catches the sun away from Thismorning and raises it even higher, too high for his little brother’s reach. Thismorning shouts and scowls, and then returns home to sulk.
But Thisevening, the eldest, loves the sun as well. Quicker in thought and more cunning in deed, he goes out to the fields in his red hunting cloak. There, with a single arrow, he brings down a great, fat hare and returns to the house to build a fire.
Thisafternoon, still holding the sun, sniffs the air. The smell of sweet and sizzling meat is suddenly all around, and his stomach begins to twinge and rumble. Soon, he can no longer stand his hunger. And running off to find the source of the smell, he drops the sun, which falls exquisitely slow. And Thisevening is there to capture it, wrapping it tight in his hunting cloak to keep it hidden.
But the sun is much too bright and shines right through the silken cloak. So Thisevening wraps his prize in a second layer, but this does little good either, and only adds a rosy tint. Frustrated, Thisevening wraps the sun three times, then four, then five. The bundle gets larger and larger, but no matter how many layers Thisevening adds, the sun continues to glow, redder and redder and redder.
Returning from the other side of the world, Mother Night sees the sun’s red fire low on the horizon, and knows instantly what has happened. She races home, seizes Thisevening’s ear between her fingers and pulls him into the house, tears of shame stinging his eyes.
Inside, Mother Night takes away the sun and stores it carefully back under her bed. She smiles secretly to herself as she chastises her unruly sons and then sends each one to bed, whispering them to sleep with cricket songs.
Then with dark and glittering eyes, she goes out to count the stars.