There once lived a boy named Hidal. He dwelt far in the south during the early days of The Drought. In those days, wells ran dry. The central wadi, which wound its way through the main part of the village, was but a dusty bed. Irrigation systems failed. Crops dried up. A hot wind blew ceaselessly, tumbling balls of dried weed across the plain and hurling dirt at the mud brick houses.
From time to time, great lightning storms ravaged the heavens. But never a drop of rain fell to grace the parched earth. The people began to die for want of food and water. Many left to seek better fortunes in other parts of the world. But The Drought was spreading.
One day, Hidal set out on a quest for rain. He took with him such provisions as he had managed to save up, the least of which was a small clay flask. Then he headed north with only his feet to carry him.
After many weeks, Hidal reached the foot of Evinghel, the tallest and northernmost of the Taupak Mountains. His supply of food and water had run out, but he began to climb, believing perhaps Evinghel would take him high enough to barter with the clouds. For two days, he scaled the mountain, pressing on to its very peak. When at last he reached the top, he collapsed, exhausted.
As he lay upon the stone, an Aldyr came to him. The Aldyr was small for his kind, perhaps twelve feet tall. Still, he towered over Hidal even as he knelt before him.
“What is it you seek, Child of Man?” the Aldyr said, placing a massive hand beneath Hidal’s head. He looked kindly upon the boy; his silvery eyes glimmered, and his pale skin and hair seemed to glow.
“A flask of rainwater,” said Hidal. He took the phial from his pack.
“This is a bold request,” said the Aldyr. “Do you not know the price of a raindrop? Gold cannot buy it, nor any store of earthly riches.”
“I do not wish to buy or sell, but to save the people of my village.”
“Will one flask save an entire village?”
“I know not, but that it may save many.”
Then the Aldyr smiled. “Well spoken, Child of Man, and well intended. May it be unto you as you have asked.” He turned his eyes toward the heavens and cried aloud in his own language: “Aquel le Jaeoril Liren!” And above them a small cloud appeared, and began to pour its glistening drops into the flask.
“Take one mouthful,” the Aldyr said when the flask was filled and the cloud dissipated. “It will satisfy you for the remainder of your journey. Use the rest for the sake of others, and great things will come of it.”
So, his strength renewed, Hidal returned down the mountain. He journeyed back the way he had come, passing through many villages nearly as desperate as his own. The fame of his possession seemed to fly ahead of him. In every town the people flocked to him, promising great gifts—a chest of gold coins, a suit of armor, a field’s worth of crops, a daughter’s hand in marriage—in exchange for a mouthful of water.
But in each town, Hidal pointed them toward the well. “This is a gift to all of you,” he would say, pouring a few drops of the rainwater into the well. “Drink your fill, and it will never run dry.”
At last, he reached the well of his own village. But when he turned the flask to empty it, no water came forth. In anguish and despair he fell to his knees, turning his eyes to the withering sun above. “I have failed!” he cried. “Is there not one drop left for my own people?”
And as he spoke these words, one last drop dripped from the rim of the flask. Fresh, clean water gushed as if from a hidden spring far below, and all the people rushed forward, scooping handfuls of the precious liquid.
And it is said that the wells of Hidal have ever brought forth enough and to spare, even unto this day.