The villagers knew that he-who-lives-nearest-God took from the altar—still, they brought the largest of the day’s catch, beautiful bundles of herbs, purple rice rather than white or brown. What could they have done otherwise? They were as loathe to confront him as to see their offerings enter his belly, for he had built and lived in a hut against the very foot of God, closer than they dared venture.
The village and rice fields lay a respectful distance away, and the people were devout, notwithstanding their too-great enjoyment of food. They prayed every day and even resolved to abstain from spices and organ meats after God awoke for the first time in three generations. On that day He shook loose a century of hard soil from His body, opened His eyes, and chose he-who-lives-nearest-God—no one else. Though too distant to see his expression, the villagers saw the fool waving at them.
Look at him, muttered someone in the crowd, lost in rapture.
They waved back without enthusiasm as he-who-lives-nearest-God submitted fully to Him, his earthly form like a rice stalk bowing under the weight of harvest before disintegrating and ascending into His many mouths.
Now, with blandness on their tongues and anger on their lips, they prayed that next time He would choose someone worthy from the village proper. Next time.