Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Pan curat omnes

Pan is All

Papa Werebear and UrsusMajr

(This is the final, author-approved version of this story. It contains a few additions and minor corrections to spelling and punctuation. The authors hope you enjoy it.)

Copyright, 2008. All rights reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced by any means, electronic or otherwise, without express permission of the authors.

(Don very kindly did this drawing for us after reading the story.  A tip of the hat to him and his very hot bear drawings.)

Long had He been the guardian of the woodland, the wild, and the meadow. He had been 'Pan' for centuries, and had traveled far. He had been a slender youth that had found the God of the Pipes in the forests of the Mediterranean but that had been long ages ago; another country. This new world was different and perhaps that was why His life was shorter now, or perhaps it was because the wild grew smaller and smaller. Those who wore the Horns were not beast, and not completely God; and yet not man, either. They were the wild -- the living, thinking, breathing personification of the wilderness; and there was a little of Them in all men. "Pan is all, all is Pan, seek Him out in every man". The gray bearded Pan sat on a stump in the woods of North Carolina; it wouldn't be long now. He would pass on without an heir. No one had answered the call of His pipes Perhaps mankind in this modern world had forgotten Him and there was nothing left after all of Him in them.

He had been a Christian lad, but that had not mattered. He'd found the Old One dying in a clearing in the forest and, though frightened at first, searched his heart and found no evil in this horned, goat footed man.

So he'd held the gray bearded, withered old God in his arms as he lay dying and stroked his silver white fetlocks. The old Goat God told him the tale of how he'd been a youth once, long ago. How he'd taken up the Horns to rule the wood for its own good and for the good of man. Had seen mankind move from the life of nomadic herding to life of the cities. How man had tamed little plots of land to cultivate grain and had penned up his food animals and pressed them into service as beasts of burden. Yet still they honored Him and given Him wine and had met with Him in the wilds to enjoy the freedoms there, away from their cities. Man had even started recording the stories of the exploits of the Gods on skins rolled up and kept in special houses; a new idea. Before, it had been passed down from one poet to the next in word and song. But that was long ago, now there was a 'new' God and the Old Ones were cast aside, made to be villains. Even the Daemons, the 'servants and messengers' of the Old Gods had been clothed in the dark robes of Evil. Pan was dying and the youth wept, because in his heart he knew that the wildness and wonder in the souls of men would die too and their connection with the wood, would be severed.

The Old God had looked into his eyes, "You understand what my passing means, don't you?"

He nodded. "Man will lose touch with the world beyond the cities," the youth said. "The wild will perish and in the end, because of that, so will man and his cities."

"I cannot ask you to take up the Horns and Pipes," the God said.

"No, but if I choose them, then you have not asked," he replied.

Pan smiled and said, "You do understand. Kiss me and perhaps there will be hope for man yet."

With that, the youth bent his head and kissed the ancient Lord of the Forest, still cradled in his arms and the spirit of Pan passed to a new guardian and found new vigor and fire in the youth's body. Pan rejoiced as did the youth who had become Pan. The old God died and was reborn. The youth removed His rough linen tunic, new heat spreading through His body. He pushed the sandals from His feet. The Goat Horns sprouted from His youthful un-furrowed forehead, His beardless face grew a curly black goatee and mustache, His slender body became toned with lanky muscle. His straight black hair curled and His legs grew long, coated with soft, curly black goat fur. Cloven hooves adorned the ends of His feet and a goat's tail twitched at the base of His spine. His curly black hair extended down His spine and over His back but not completely, just a wide strip down to the buttocks. His chest and arms remained bare as the youth He was. He stood on His new feet and cried out for joy and the wood and the animals within it answered back with equal joy. His penis was now full grown, shaped like that of a goat with large balls hanging in a furry sack. He reached down to touch the newly changed organ and rejoiced at the thrill and renewed vigor in His loins. He was Pan and Pan would satisfy His lust for life, but that could wait; now was not the time. He looked down upon the ancient form of His predecessor, not Pan anymore just a withered, lifeless, naked old man. He took the pipes from his hands and played a melody of mourning for he who had been guardian for so long. The earth moved beneath his body and slowly took him beneath it as He played. When completely covered with earth and leaves, a vine of wild grapes grew from the grave; a fitting marker.

That was in what became known as the Middle Ages, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi 1121. As if time had begun with the birth of the new God, Pan reflected. Not even the Priests of Zeus had been so arrogant as to number the years beginning with that God's birth. Of course, no one knew that time and date anyway; that kind of record keeping was important for people who planted and sowed, not for those who kept track of time by the seasons. He looked over His now aged body. Even now, He retained a slender, youthful form; though His gray beard, wrinkled skin and silver fur told of His age. His frame was not that of a mature male nor was His body hair, other than His face. He had never developed chest or arm hair and often wondered if it was because He'd been a youth when He had taken up The Horns and Pipes. His predecessor was like Him in that, and He wondered if it was because he, too, had taken up the Horns as a youth. Oh, well... no need to ponder that anymore; soon, it wouldn't matter anyway.

A day and a night passed. Beasts of the wood brought Him what food the wood afforded but the food brought Him little strength. It was almost the full moon and He knew that should it wane, and He not have an heir, Pan would be in the world no more. The Earth would become barren, sterile; and eventually, lifeless.

* * *
Bob Andersen's life had taken a turn for the worse. At 35, he was homeless, he'd lost his job and had almost expended all of his savings as well. He'd been evicted from his apartment; the landlord claimed it was because he'd been throwing wild sex parties, but Bob knew it was because his holier than thou evangelical landlord had found out through snooping that Bob was gay. The new tenants were from the landlord's church. He'd recommended the apartments to them and had strategically placed them in the vacant apartments around Bob. They, of course, had corroborated the bastard's story. Bearing false witness is 'OK' if it's against a sinner and serves the greater good, right?

Bob had put his few possessions in storage and was looking for places. He had been living with friends for the last six months in a guest room; it was hard to find a place with an eviction on your record. Bob had been looking for work too, but times were hard and work didn't seem to be available. He'd been taking long walks in the woods to give his friends some time to themselves. They were a very nice lesbian couple and just newly moved in with each other, so they needed that. Bob looked out the window and saw the moon was beginning to rise. A full moon, Bob reflected. He stretched his huge bearish frame, scratched at his thick red beard and rubbed his hairy arms. Evelyn and Amy would be home soon. He threw on a t-shirt, got in the car and headed for a nearby undeveloped wooded area on the edge of Uwharrie National Forests.

He was a half hour into his walk and it was already dark. Bob had been down these little deer trails hundreds of times as a kid. His dark thoughts had lifted somewhat and he decided to turn back, go back to his friends' house but now he suddenly found that he was lost. He didn't seem to recognize this area of the woods and to him this seemed an impossibility. He hadn't wandered off the path, indeed the path in the moonlight carried on, but where it led he was not sure. He tried to calm himself and tried to retrace his steps and still he was lost. Worse, it seemed he'd circled right back to the same place he was not long ago when he first realized he was lost.

Bob was starting to panic. He pulled out his cell phone; no signal! He'd made calls hundreds of times from this area, how could there be no signal? Bob looked at the path and decided to follow it. Perhaps it led back to more familiar parts of the forest he would recognize.

* * *

Pan looked at The Moon. Luna! She was beautiful, She always was, in all Her phases. She would look down on Him for the last time tonight; by dawn, He would be dead. He raised the pipes to His lips one last time and began to play a melody, so beautiful, so sweet and so sad all at once; haunting and wild, ancient and yet familiar. It wasn't a call, He'd given up on that. No, this tune was filled with His love for the forest and His aching at the knowledge that it would begin to pass away when He passed. A stag came into the clearing and Pan smiled and stopped. If this was to be His last song, it would not be a dirge! He would play as He had for those who still dared to visit Him under threat of excommunication and death! And He would play for the animals, one last joy-filled tune!

* * *

Bob stopped. He was just about to head down the path when he heard music. Some sort of whistles or something, up ahead. It was a sad song, a beautiful song, and it touched his heart. He paused to listen. It resonated with his soul. Someone had to be playing it. Perhaps someone who lived out here and could show him the way back. He started down the path, following it as it seemed to direct him to the place from where the music was coming. He hurried along, through underbrush and dense stands of broad leaf trees, following the path and then suddenly the music stopped. Had whoever was playing it heard him crashing about? He waited and was about to turn back when the music started up again. This time it was lively and happy, and it cheered him. The music made him want to laugh and sing; he followed it, it was getting louder, he was getting nearer. Bob followed the path through blackberry brambles and into a dense copse of silver maples and there, in a clearing beneath the moonlight, he saw Him dancing with a small herd of white tail deer, led by a stag with a magnificent rack. Bob rubbed his eyes, not believing what he was seeing. It was like one of those creatures from legends; a Centaur? No, a Satyr? Bob was about to back out, sure he was delusional when the Satyr stopped and looked right at him.

"Welcome Mortal! Come! Sit here. Listen, and I will tell you a story," the creature said in a jolly tone. "This is my going away party and it would be nice to share it with a human as well as the children of the forest. You didn't happen to bring wine, did you?" Bob shook his head 'no'.

"Ah, no matter, sweeter than wine is companionship; pray, share some with me then, to help me celebrate one last time." The deer had stopped prancing about and now were grazing, while the stag kept watch.

Bob wasn't sure why, but he accepted the invitation and moved into the clearing.

"Once, long ago," the Satyr said, gesturing to the clearing and the woods beyond, "the world was all like this. Every place was alive, plants flourished and animals and man lived in balance. Each bred and raised their young and lived out their allotted time in close connection with the world around them. The Earth was at peace and untroubled and each living thing, in its own way, honored the Gods and Their wisdom." Pan smiled, stroked the stag's neck and looked deep into Bob's eyes as he told the tale of His own assumption of the Horns and of His many travels, of joys and sorrows and the seeming endless ages of humankind's advance and of the sad shrinking of the wild world.

The Moon moved silently in the sky, shedding pale silvery light on Pan and the human who listened. Bob was unaware of the passage of time; indeed, it was as if time had ceased. He relaxed as the God told His tales, and the fear he had felt at being lost was forgotten. In its place there awoke a memory of the kinship with the natural world he had felt as a child walking these woods. He drank in the stories the God told, listening attentively.

But time did pass and as The Moon began to sink towards the tops of the trees, Pan sighed. "Now, My time is at it's end. I am dying and the natural world with Me. None have answered my call and when I go, it will mark the beginning of the end of things. Oh, not in your lifetime, I imagine; but then, your lives are short. But, eventually." The deer had long since moved off, leaving the God and the man alone in the clearing.

A change had been working in Bob's mind as he listened to the sad and joyful tales the Satyr had told. He felt different, somehow. More alive, but at the same time, more distant from his accustomed life and worries. He felt closer than ever to the woods and nature, and his troubles seemed trivial now. He looked at the Satyr and asked a question that had touched the edges of his mind several times while he listened to the Satyr's stories.

"Who are you?" Bob asked simply.

The God smiled slowly once more looked deeply in the red-bearded man's eyes. "I think you know. You're heart has told you, but you mind has not accepted it yet, but no matter. I am Pan, I am all and I am nothing. I am everywhere and nowhere, I am the one that your kind once knew and I had hoped would know again. The natural world still knows me, but you and yours have forgotten... and I am dying. My blessings on you mortal, a gift for sharing My last night with Me; may you prosper and succeed."

Bob's mind was in turmoil. Part of him knew exactly what he wanted to do and say, but he held back, fearing that what what he was would offend this natural spirit or somehow make himself ineligible; that somehow he was flawed. He reached out a hand as Pan turned away to leave.

"Wait. Please!"

Pan turned back and gazed at the bearish man standing before him in the waning moonlight.

"Look, I know you can't ask me to take your place. I guess its kind of 'against the rules' or something, but you asked for yourself, long ago, and that worked then. If I ask you..." Bob stopped.

Pan sighed. "Human, I can see a little of your heart. I perceive that your are a good man; kind, true... but I also see doubt and one who assumes My place cannot doubt. He must be sure of himself, of his desire." Pan put a hand on Bob's shoulder, then drew him into a strong embrace, stronger than Bob had expected from one so lithe of form. "I know you would do this but for your doubt, and I honor you for that; but it cannot be."

Bob pulled back, struggling with himself. Finally, he blurted out, "There is nothing for me here. I've no job, nowhere to live and I have no one. I WANT to do this, but..."

"But you doubt, " Pan said, flatly. He caressed his red bearded cheek. "it was kind of you to offer."

"No! It isn't that, it's that I....I..."

"What then?" Pan asked, sitting wearily on a tree stump. He was deeply tired now, nearly all His energy drained away.

"I... oh, I don't know how to tell you. I love the earth and the trees, I was always happy here as a kid but if I understand what you have said, you ARE the natural world... and I'm..." Bob paused for a long time. "Unnatural... flawed."

Pan looked up. Now he understood the veil that had hidden some of this man's spirit from his gaze. He could finally see through the sadness and hurt there. He understood his hesitancy now.

"Mortal, you do not understand. You are as natural as I am, as natural as the stag and The Moon and the trees. Everything in nature is as it was meant to be. Humans have been blessed with self-awareness, but they also seem to be cursed with narrow-mindedness. No animal would look with scorn upon love, no matter how it was shown; just as no animal would sneer at a virile expression of life. "

Pan paused. "Be not troubled, human, in the way you have been made but rejoice! Life rejoices in love, laughter and sharing; you are not alone and you are not 'unnatural'. You share a place in the great scheme of things with many others of your kind through the ages; distinguished, cherished and honored men and women. Sadly, there will always be those who are small-minded, petty and vindictive; eager to enforce their ways and judgments on others. The priests of the new God seem to encourage that sad tendency, but nature does not. I do not. The Earth loves all Her children."

But, look at me; I'm a big, hairy, fat man. I have a beer gut, I'm short of breath... unfit. There's no WAY I could...”

Be still, mortal,” Pan said, placing a hand on the large man's knee. “You are beautiful. You are beautiful because you are exactly the way the Gods and Nature intended you to be. There is nothing wrong with you.”

Bob and Pan looked silently at each other for a long time. Bob's mind was a jumble of confused thoughts and worries, but the God's mind slowly grew steadily more settled and at peace. Pan lay His pipes down on the stump and laid His tired old body on the soft green grass. A breeze like a sigh rippled through the trees, the insect sounds and movements of small animals faded out. Bob knelt and cradled the head of the dying God in his lap. He gently leaned down and unbidden, kissed the old Hoofed God. Pan opened His eyes and smiled and reached up and caressed Bob as the light in His eyes died and His spirit passed into Bob.

A gust of wind shook the trees and kicked up leaves and dust and then the night sounds returned. Bob stood; He slowly shed his clothes, taking off His shoes first. By the time He had peeled off His tee shirt, His feet had transformed into strong hooves and hocks adding height to His already tall form. The Horns sprouted from His forehead. His legs, always hairy, were now covered in dense soft, curly auburn fur that matched His thicker, bushy beard. His barrel chest was more muscled than it had been and was matted now even more thickly with curly auburn hair. A thick band of the reddish-brown hair extended over his shoulders and down from His head to base of His spine and a small goat tail twitched there. He looked down at Himself and saw a thick proud phallus surging upright amidst a dense thicket of red curls, different of shape but larger than it had ever been. He smiled at His new endowment and it twitched; He was Pan! He inhaled deeply, smelling all the glorious scents of the dark nighttime forest. He felt new life surging in His veins and great new strength in His body. He felt virile and alive as He had never felt before. He knelt to pick up the pipes and watched as the earth slowly covered the old man at his feet, enfolding him to rest. A wild grape vine curled up from the mound and soon covered it.

The burly God stood and picked up the pipes. He put His lips to them and blew experimentally. Unlike His predecessor, He was not a simple shepherd boy; He brought no skill to the instrument. He sat on the ground near a tree and tentatively blew into the pipes. At first, it was no notes or sour notes but as He played with them, the knowledge of their use came to Him. It was as if that knowledge was also passed on to Him with the Horns and Hooves.

In the east the Sun was rising. Once again Helios returned to the sky and from the pipes came a Beatles tune... "Here comes the Sun". Pan stopped and laughed a deep, bass laugh. He was sure the simple shepherd melodies would come to Him in time, but for now, the tunes He knew would do.

Pan turned as the stag bounded over a log and back into the clearing. The antlered animal stepped over to Pan and gazed upon the thickly muscled, furry being, he sniffed carefully his senses alert. He then slowly bowed in the way of his kind, extending one foreleg and tucking the other under his body and lowering his head as he semi-knelt before the God. Pan extended a large hairy hand and laid it on the stag's head in a blessing.

(The authors hope you enjoyed this story. You can contact them at papawerebear65@yahoo.com and ursusmajr@makaw.net .)


  1. I had read this first quite a while ago and very much enjoyed it. It is a mark of the fine craftsmanship of the story that it seems to resonate so precisely with current events still - yet not focus on them, just let them act as a basis. Extremely well done.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. Sorry I've not responded sooner, it's been a busy couple of weeks. ;)

  2. I appreciate [and thank you] for sharing;through this, and the other stories posted here, the idea that we are who we are meant to be....we're not 'flawed' or 'damaged goods',but there is a place in the scheme of things for us. We belong!

    1. We are indeed what and who we are and it is neither better nor worse than other ways of being. The sooner people see that, the better, I say.

  3. As Papa Werebear says, we are who we are, and that is neither good nor bad in and of itself. Ultimately, we are what we make of ourselves. Nature, is its wisdom, accepts and nurtures a wide variety of differences within species. Humankind would do well to remember and emulate that.

  4. I Have enjoyed your stories for some years now and would like to thank you for many hours of reading pleasure. Pan Is All remains my favorite.

    Thanks again,

    1. You are most welcome! Pan was a bit of a departure for us, glad you liked it.