In the beginning, the great Gods of maple syrup, Dave and Jen, created the land now known as Canada.
Even today, every second Canadian is named Dave and Jen in their honour.
Dave and Jen were kind Gods. They made sure their people were well fed and clothed in the latest maple leaf attire.
As a gift, Dave and Jen bestowed maple syrup upon their people. Maple syrup was plentiful. It flowed from the trees all year long, being transformed into maple syrup by the Gods.
The people of Canada drank maple syrup at every meal and used it to brush their teeth, shampoo their hair and as a deodorant. Apparently it was also useful for getting gum out of hair.
The one rule that Dave and Jen imposed was that no-one could touch the maple sap until they had purified and distilled it, removing the maple essence which was far too powerful for mere humans. Dave and Jen warned that it would make people sleep for eternity.
After all their hard work, Dave and Jen decided to reward themselves with a weekend skiing getaway.
They put their most trusty leaders, Stephanie and Mike, in charge while they were gone. Their last words to Stephanie and Mike were, “Remember, don’t drink the maple sap.”
Mike and Stephanie had no intention of disobeying. They wanted to please the Gods. And so, they set to work. They buffed the moose’s antlers, sharpened the bear’s claws, flossed the beaver’s teeth and dusted the maple trees.
And then Mike casually commented, “Do you really think the maple sap is dangerous?”
The seed was sown.
“Why don’t we just look at it, but not touch it,” offered ever-sensible Stephanie.
So, they walked to the biggest maple tree in the forest and peered into the sap bucket strapped to its trunk. Watery maple sap was gentling trickling out of a tree tap.
“It won’t hurt to just smell it,” said Mike, feeling not as confident as his voice suggested.
And so, he put his head deep into the bucket and inhaled the essence of maple. He had never smelled anything so divine.
After a respectable wait, listening to Mike’s ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ Stephanie pulled Mike’s head out, and politely instructed him to “Give me a turn you hog”.
Within hours their maple sniffing habit was formed and they wanted more. “Surely just tasting one drop wouldn’t put us to sleep,” Jen suggested.
Mike went first, dipping his pinky finger into the sap. He tentatively put it to his lips and tasted it in all its gloriousness. He didn’t fall asleep. In fact he didn’t feel tired at all. The only thing he needed was more pure maple sap.
He was hooked.
Legend has it that their maple sap frenzy lasted all through the night.
As the sun rose Stephanie pulled her lips off a tree tap and Mike dragged his head out of a sap bucket. Feeling weary they sat at the base of a fine old tree as sleep overcame them.
In those few moments between being awake and asleep, they saw their Gods, Dave and Jen, looking down at them with sadness in their eyes and skis on their shoulders.
From that day Mike and Stephanie never woke up and the maple syrup curse began. Maple sap only flowed when nights were freezing, followed by warm and sunny days. Some years it would flow for weeks and sometimes only for days.
Jen and Dave were never seen by humans again. But every year on 1 July all Canadians paint their faces and don red and white clothes to worship the great Canadian Gods of Maple syrup – Dave and Jen, hoping that the maple curse will be lifted and maple sap will run freely and constantly once more.
Image credit – original image from www.sodahead.com, modified by N Godwin