By Mary Potts aka Queen of the Capes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: September, 2005
Summary: Jor-El tells Lara all about the strangest planet you could ever wish to see.
"So what sort of planet is it?" Lara had been curious ever since her husband had told her that he'd discovered a planet which not only was capable of supporting life, but also already had a thriving population of beings who were humanoid, if not actually human. Jor-El's plan was to persuade the council that the people should abandon Krypton and flee to this tiny yet intriguing planet called 'Earth'. "What's it like?"
Jor-El leaned back in his favorite chair and considered for a moment. "Well, I believe I've told you that Earth is divided into many fragments—or nations—each ruled by its own government."
Lara nodded. "You did."
"I've been observing the people of one of the larger nations, a realm called 'America'. It is located on one of three continents bearing this name, yet the natives speak as though the name belongs solely to them."
Lara raised an eyebrow.
"They are a very diverse people," Jor-El continued, "which is partly why I feel we Kryptonians would 'fit in' quite well there. I have noticed, though, that the majority of Americans are united in following some rather-er, interesting customs…"
"Oh? Such as what?"
Jor-El stroked his chin. "Well, I supposed their most important and intriguing customs center around the observation of holy days, in particular the holy day known as 'Christmas'."
"Christmas?" Lara looked very intrigued. Jor-El almost had to chuckle.
"Yes. It is a winter solstice festival in which members of the dominant religion celebrate the birth of their god by bringing trees into their houses."
Lara blinked. "Trees?"
"They bring trees *inside*?"
"From what I've observed, yes."
Lara chewed her lip thoughtfully for a moment. Then she brightened. "Oh! I get it! Their god is some kind of nature-god, right?"
"Um, no. At least, not that I'm aware."
Lara's face fell. "Oh. Well then, is it that trees play a large role in their mythology?"
"Um, no, I don't think so. I've encountered references to some kind of fruit-bearing tree in their creation accounts, but the Christmas custom specifies a type of tree that doesn't bear any fruit whatsoever. So that can't be it."
"Well then, perhaps it's just an idiosyncrasy—something someone started as a joke, but that became popular."
"No," said Jor-El, "my research indicates it is an important—in fact, *crucial* part of the observation. There are even songs dedicated to it!"
Lara's face twisted into an expression of utter confusion.
Jor-El decided to continue past this inexplicable detail in a strange, foreign culture. "The Christmas customs also include singing and festive gatherings, as well as decorating the house— and the tree—with colored lights."
"Okay," Lara slowly nodded. "I guess that makes sense."
"It is also customary for a family to hang their socks on a wall, preferably near a fire if there is one."
"What?!" Lara looked at her husband as though he'd just grown a second head and started singing a duet with himself. "Why would they do that?"
"Well," her husband replied, "legend has it that an immortal being who dwells in the far north visits homes on this sacred night, entering through an opening in the roof—"
"Yes. Homes with places for building a fire also have openings in the roof so that the smoke can escape."
"And rather than come in through the door or window, this creature climbs through the smoke-hole?"
The duet became a trio.
"He fills the socks with gifts, and also places gifts beneath the tree…"
"The tree in the middle of the house."
Jor-El nodded. "Yes."
"The one decorated with lights."
"Yes. It is also customarily topped with a figurine depicting either a star or a winged humanoid."
Lara decided she'd heard enough about this nonsense. Okay, so these people had a very strange holiday. As long as it was only once a year—and she hoped earth years were very long—she could probably live with it. "So what other important customs are there, besides this Christmas ordeal?"
"Well, there's Easter…"
"A spring festival," Jor-El elaborated. "From what I understand, members of the dominant religion hold Easter as the day their god rose from the dead."
Lara blinked again. "Okay, I'm guessing there's an interesting story there. So how do they observe this occasion?"
Jor-El frowned a little and tried to gather his thoughts. "From what I've observed, they commemorate his resurrection by boiling eggs and painting them."
"The eggs are then hidden for the children to find. The children are told that the eggs were left there the previous night by a large rabbit."
"Earth rabbits lay eggs?"
"No. They are just like rabbits here, except perhaps smaller."
Lara opened her mouth to speak, but couldn't think of anything to say. This was absolutely far-fetched! Oh, wait a minute… of course! "Jor-El, you are making this up!" She announced.
"No, I'm not!" Jor-El insisted. "I know it seems a little odd, but this is what I have observed!"
"I suppose next you'll tell me they celebrate weddings by having the groom dance with a strange girl!"
"I found that out quite by accident. It's called a 'bachelor party'. In some cases, weddings have been called off because of them."
Lara shook her head. "And you want our people to relocate there?! Jor-El, these people are stark, raving mad! If you tell the council about this, they will laugh in your face!"
"Lara, really! When our whole world is about to explode, do you think that the council is going to refuse to evacuate to a place of safety just because the inhabitants may be a little eccentric?"
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the real reason why Krypton has only one survivor.