It was mid-morning in the clearing. Bleary-eyed people were waking up, deciding they should finally get up and moving. Fires were stoked, water was poured into urns and set in the coals to boil. A yawning child crawled into her father’s lap, her Bambi eyes still sleepy.
“Tell me the legend of the morning people again, Daddy,” she said in her small voice. The child loved stories and legends of long-ago, of the time they lived in lands of stone and metal.
He smiled and yawned. He was always grumpy in the mornings before his first cup of kaf, the strong black nectar of the gods, but he never took it out on her. He cleared his throat and began:
In the time of long-ago, when men lived in cities of stone and metal, there were two tribes who mistrusted each other. One tribe woke up at a decent hour, and though they woke up grumpy, they had full and productive lives, and were even happy when the yellow orb went to sleep and night came. For the night was when they ruled and played and celebrated the mysteries of the world. By the gifts of the gods they could function late into the night, and could see by magic light. The other tribe woke up far too early and were even happy to do so. They had no kaf, and no want of it. They were smiling and ready to go the instant they opened their eyes. In their arrogance they refused the Divine Bean, you see. The late-risers were mistrustful of the morning people, as they came to be called, for anyone who could wake and be ready to go without the Divine Bean, from which kaf is brewed, the very gift of the gods, could surely be up to no good. So the late-risers watched, growing ever more mistrustful. One day one of the morning people’s unholy shamans began tampering with the Divine Bean, trying to remove its very essence, that which sharpens the mind and speeds the heart. The late-risers were rightfully horrified at this blasphemy. When the shamans succeeded and then started doing the same with its close cousin, the tay leaf, the morning people had finally gone too far. They had strayed from the Righteous Path and, in their arrogance, tried to usurp the gods and their gifts to us. So the late-risers went to war against the morning people who, lacking the pure Divine Bean and its cousin the Tay leaf, could not keep up. They were slaughtered to the last for their blasphemy.
He looked down at his daughter. She was engrossed in the tale. His wife handed him a steaming ceramic mug of strong black kaf, and handed a mug of golden-brown tay to their daughter as the bacon sizzled. There was much to do today. He took his first sip.
The gift of the gods. Perfect.