Oom

Cautiously peered Oom over the rim of the Milky Way and focused his upper eye on
an atomic cloud.  As it mushroomed slowly from the surface of the earth, tears
dripped from the upper eye of Oom.

But a little lower than the Legnas had Oom created man.  Male and female, in an
image somewhat like his own, created he them.  Yet ever and again had they turned
the power of reason upon themselves, and the history of their race had been one of
endless discord.

And Oom knew that when the atomic clouds had cleared, and bacterial plagues had
spent their fury, the race of man would yet live on.  After war’s exhaustion would
come rest and returning strength, new cities and new dreams, new loves and hates,
and again the crafty planning of new wars.  So might things continue until the end
of space-time.

Oom wearied of man’s imperfection.  Sighing, lightly he touched the earth with the
tip of his left big toe.

And on the earth came a mighty quaking.  Lightning and thunder raged, winds blew,
mountains rent asunder.  Waters churned above the continents.  When silence came
at last, and the sea slipped back into the hollows, no living thing remained.

Throughout the cosmos other planets whirled quietly about other suns, and on each
had Oom caused divers manners of souls to grow.  And on each had been ceaseless
bitterness and strife.  One by one, gently were they touched by a toe of Oom,
until the glowing suns harbored only the weaving bodies of dead worlds.

Like intricate jewelled clockwork the universe ran on.  And of this clockwork Oom
greatly wearied.  Softly he breathed on the glittering spheres and the lights of
the suns went out and a vast Darkness brooded over the deep.

In the courts of Oom many laughed at the coming of the Darkness; but others did
not laugh, regretting the passing of the suns.  Over the justice of Oom’s
indignation a great quarreling arose among the Legnas, and the sound of their
quarreling reached the lower ear of Oom.

Then turned Oom and fiercely looked upon the Legnas.  And when they beheld his
countenance they drew back in terror, their wings trailing.  Gently did Oom blow
his breath upon them.  . . .

And as Oom walked the empty corridors, brooding darkly on the failures of his
handiwork, a great loneliness came upon him.  Within him a portion of himself
spoke, saying:

“Thou hast done a foolish thing.  Eternity is long and Thou shalt weary of
thyself.”

And it angered Oom that his soul be thus divided; that in him should be this
restlessness and imperfection.  Even of himself Oom wearied.  Raising high his
middle arm into the Darkness, he made the sign of Oom.

Over infinite distances did the arm traverse.  Eternity came and fled ere the sign
had been completed.

Then at last to the cosmos came perfect peace, and a wandering wind of nothingness
blew silently over the spot where Oom had been.
Martin Gardner, 1951~