Once upon a time, there was a boy named Feldaren, who loved to take things that did not belong to him. When he was hungry, he stole food; when he was thirsty, he stole water; when he was bored, he stole toys; when he was sick, he stole medicine; and so on and so on until he stopped being hungry and thirsty and bored and sick, yet he kept stealing, even when he had no reason to steal at all.
One day, he tried to steal a shiny jewel from a store, only to be caught by the shopkeeper and chased out of town. Feldaren didn’t need the jewel, not really, but he wanted it, so he stole a bow and some arrows and returned to the store the next day and shot the shopkeeper in the heart and stole the jewel with no trouble. When word spread of his deed, townspeople began to fear his name. If they saw him come into their towns, they would send the guards after poor Feldaren and the guards would lock him up in their cages. But Feldaren was crafty, so he picked the locks and freed himself and then stole all the keys so no one could lock him up ever again.
Since the guards couldn’t put him in prison, they tried to execute him instead. Feldaren had no intention of letting himself get killed–after all, there were so many things he hadn’t stolen yet–so he started shooting all the guards with his bow and arrow until he was free to steal what he wanted without worrying about being hunted down for it. If a farmer or blacksmith or fishmonger tried to stop him, he would shoot them, too, and take all their goods.
Stealing was such lonely work. Feldaren had nobody to talk to when he stole things and knew that if he did, he would just steal from them and probably kill them, too. So, to make himself feel better, he started stealing animals to keep him company. He stole cows and chickens and squirrels and deer until there was no meat or eggs or milk for anyone but him. Children lost their pets and farmers lost their cattle, and only Feldaren could hear the birds sing, but he was still lonely.
Feldaren still wanted someone to talk to, and since his animals couldn’t do much more than bark and squawk and moo, he started stealing people. He took the children first, because they were easy to catch, then the grandmas and grandpas, then the women, then the men, and there were no guards to stop him. When he ran out of places to put all the things he had stolen, he started stealing land, too, and seas for his stolen boats and the sky for his stolen birds and the trees for his stolen squirrels and houses for his stolen friends and the sun for his stolen crops and the rain for his stolen flowers until one day he couldn’t find anything else to steal. Everything belonged to him, and he certainly couldn’t steal from himself.
He just didn’t know what to do. Who was Feldaren the Thief without anything to steal? He searched and searched the whole world for something new, but there was nothing left he didn’t already own, so he cried and cried until the sun went down and the stars came out. He looked up at them and gasped, astonished that he hadn’t thought of them before.
“I’m going to steal the stars!” he said. “Surely God has enough stars that he wouldn’t mind if I took a few for myself.”
“You can’t steal my stars,” said God. “They are for all creatures to share, not just for you.”
“But all the creatures are mine,” said Feldaren, “so the stars should be mine, too.”
“You are my creature,” said God, “so they are all still mine because you are mine.”
Feldaren pondered this for a long time. What if God was right? he wondered. What if he had never truly stolen anything, because everything belonged to God, and you couldn’t steal from God? He wanted the stars so much, but even if he did steal them, they were still God’s, and so was he, and so they would be, no matter what Feldaren took.
“I think you are right,” he said to God. “I have stolen too much, and nothing at all. I am not Feldaren the Thief, because I cannot steal from you.”
“Then will you give up your life of robbery?” asked God, pleased that he had taught Feldaren a valuable lesson.
“Yes, God,” Feldaren lied. He would never stop stealing–he couldn’t stop. He had to have everything, but if he was going to have everything he had to steal the one thing everything belonged to.
He had to steal God.
Today’s three prompt categories were, “Thievery,” “Deus ex machina,” and “Identity crisis.”
I mean, stealing God is the clear solution, right?
“Stealing God” will be the title of my memoir, when everyone confuses me for L. Ron Hubbard.