The Vengeful Potato Goddess

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In the beginning, there was soil, sky, and sea. It was a nice start; the views were lovely and the weather was, generally speaking, fair. But the giants who created the soil, sky, and sea felt the universe lacked a certain “something”. So, they breathed life and energy and power into the world, and then—because they were tired from all the work— they passed on the rest of the work to the first gods and goddesses.

Some were mighty, like Lightning and Dawn. Others were humble, especially Ant and Mouse, but no less important. Among these young deities, was the Potato goddess.

She was quieter than most, and kept to herself, tending to her new crops with devotion and care. The other agricultural gods teased her for being too serious. Some took bets on how long she would last, but this was done mostly under the table and anonymously. There was no question that she was small, homely, and always covered in dirt.  For her part, she ignored them, because she was a naturally happy, contented goddess.

The Sunflower god had the most success in the beginning. Humans ground seeds and used the fine grit for sustenance. The flowers were hearty and plentiful. The Wheat goddess thrived too, especially when humans distilled grain into a liquid that made them giddy and joyful. They pitied the Potato goddess, but were too busy to care whether she succeeded.

The goddess of apples frowned from high on a tree; she’d cultivated many types of apples, and her bounty was praised by humans as magical. They spun stories around apples, found meaning in the seeds and shape. She was proud and often boasted about her crops.

The Potato goddess was a mild tempered spirit, but after centuries of ridicule, she began to get angry. The Soil and Grass and Rain gods conspired against her, starving her crops. But rather than give up, she resolved to work even harder. She would make her potatoes better and find new ways of creating something people all over the world loved.

Later, people argued over what happened next. Some said that people all over the world began experimenting with cooking and boiling and slicing. Others believed a single chef spitefully sliced a potato too thin to mock a dissatisfied customer.

The Potato goddess liked that second story. She too had become spiteful, though only on the inside, because fighting the other gods only encouraged them.

Either way, the invention of the chip changed everything. People competed against each other to make new things with potatoes. They carved them, fried and boiled them, mixed them with flour to make bread, chopped them up and slow cooked them with savory meats in stews. They turned them into crinkly and curly fries, crispy chips, and spicy wedges. Soon the whole world was obsessed. Potatoes were beloved by all (especially vegetarians).

Those gods who made fun of her began to worry. The Sunflower god’s seeds were relegated to feeding animals and people willing to risk their teeth while biting the husks. The Wheat and Dairy goddesses lost followers to allergies and diet fads. Garlic became the bane of vampires everywhere and had to be followed by a strong breath mint. Corn and Sugar were still wildly successful, but for all the wrong reasons.

They all resented the Potato goddess. She was as popular as Coffee and Cocoa. She remained humble–politeness was in her nature–but she earned new names. “Prideful and Unfair”. “Just Lucky” and “Always-Gets-Her-Way”.

Her favorite was “Vengeful”. Revenge did taste pretty great, after all—especially with ketchup on the side.

She was a full-grown goddess now. The Creators approved, happy for her success, even as their other children frowned and complained. She deserved the reward for her plowing and cultivating, for encouraging humans to be creative, for providing nourishment to the world.

Her crop would last for generations, beloved by the picky humans, universal across diets and cultures. When the other gods scorned her, the Vengeful Potato Goddess was kind to them in return. If they refused to leave her alone, she cheerfully asked one question: “would you like some fries with that salt?”

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