In the distant land of Sendahir, where the sun is fiercely hot and people have darker skin than ours, a king and queen ruled during a time of peace and plenty. And yet, they were unhappy, because although the high valleys of Sendahir were rich and fertile, and despite great efforts by the king and queen in the privacy of their bedchamber, there was no heir yet to the throne of Sendahir.
In great desperation, the king set off on a great pilgrimage to the far mountain of Tari-We where the gods lived and the very earth trembled with their mighty arguments. He climbed to the snowy peak and cried out, ‘Mighty gods of Tari-We, I beg you to give me a son to rule Sendahir when I am gone.’
The queen too made a pilgrimage, to the Cave of Arkota where the Great Mother gave birth to humanity. ‘Blessed Goddess,’ she cried, ‘give me a daughter to rule Sendahir when I am gone.’
There was a great confusion between heaven and earth, but an agreement was reached. To the king the gods said, ‘Your child will be the strongest of warriors and the envy of all men.’ To the queen the Great Mother said, ‘Your child will be fertile and beautiful, and the envy of all women.’
The king and queen returned to Sendahir with joy in their hearts, and within a cycle of the moon they were sure the queen was with child. As the year passed, all the people of Sendahir joined in the celebrations and in praise of the ancient gods who had granted this gift.
When the child was born, there was great dismay, for the child was both daughter and son. Indeed, the king declared him to be a boy and raised him to be a great warrior. The queen, however, declared her to be a girl, and raised her to be proficient in the skills of the home, the temple and the farm.
They named the child Xani, which means gift, and Xani grew to be a beautiful and talented woman, and also a man whose prowess on the battlefield was matched only by his rumoured prowess in bed.
‘Son,’ the king said, ‘one day you will be king, and must have a queen to rule by your side and bear your children.’ The queen was no less insistent. ‘Daughter, you will be queen one day, and you will need a man to look after you and the children you will bear him.’
Xani replied to them both, ‘I am man and woman, yet neither. I will marry no man unless he matches my skill with the bow, for I would demand his company on the hunt and on the battlefield. And I will marry no woman who I cannot trust to manage my properties as well as I can. In truth, I wish to marry a man who is as well endowed as I, and a woman who equals me in beauty. Were there two of me I would marry myself, for no one other could satisfy me.’
This confession was overheard by Tanika, a lady of the court who was admired by many, including Xani, for her great beauty and also her great wisdom. Her husband, Batnik, was Xani’s greatest rival in the army, and a frequent opponent in sporting competitions.
‘Princess,’ she said, cornering Xani that evening, ‘no one person could satisfy you, but perhaps two could? I would be happy to be your wife, and Batnik would make an excellent husband.’
Xani was overjoyed, and agreed at once. Within days they arranged a ceremony to admit Xani into the marriage of Tanika and Batnik.
And thus it was that Sendahir was eventually ruled by two kings and two queens together but only three crowns.
Included in Sex Ed with a Twist from Laskamaria on Tuesday 28th April, 2015.