My father calls them sharp-tongues, though I call them monsters. When I was a boy, still young enough for stories and my father was sane, he used to tell me the story of the monsters. He said that a long time ago, before the wars of human and nature, there was peace between man and animal. Nature was obedient and merciful, giving a fruitful bounty to all who cared to take it. Nothing was starving for food and all creatures lived harmoniously.
He would usually fall into laughter at this point. As if something so fantastical could have ever happened. I used to sit there, silently, and feel a deadness in my stomach. I’ve never known a world without beasts, or eaten a plate full of food. I have never seen anything of worth that wasn’t bartered or fought over. My father would laugh, but I wouldn’t.
He would continue, after his tears of mirth had subsided. He said that everything was so wonderful and amazing, and man decided to make it even better. Man gathered all the animals around and told them that he would give them all a gift: whatever they would ask for. The animals were pleased, but the world was perfect and most did not ask for more.
Except for the giant lizards, of course. The giant lizards were so large that they could not climb trees to take fruit to eat. They would eat off the ground, but they needed so much that it took away food from the other animals. This was a time of perfection, mind you, so nothing wanted to intentionally harm another. The giant lizards came up to man and said: “We wish for nothing more than long arms and hands like yourself, kind master. Then we could pick fruit from the trees, as you do, and not have half-empty stomachs.” Man thought this was very logical, and so went to work fashioning arms and hands for the giant lizards.
My father would pause here again and give me a strange look. He said that man was more powerful in those days, as well as wiser. All the animals followed the direction of man, and the only other equal was nature itself. Man knew what was right and what was wrong in those days. Nature used to guide man like a tender parent, like a shadow. Never touching, but always watching.