The best soil was on the side of the volcano and the man who decided to build his house there knew the dangers. Living in the shadow of the thing that gave the island life and death was a risk, but the soil was the best, the view of the ocean unparalleled and the view of the volcano as it lit the night was one of the few things in his life that set his heart racing.
The mountain has been rumbling for days and the smoke was growing heavier around the top. This close, the night was almost as bright as the day. The man would sit outside his house and whittle to the glow of the volcano. His neighbors came to tell him they were going, to beg him to leave with them and their families. There was always a chance to rebuild, they would tell him. He did not have to die with his farm.
While the man knew the volcano was dangerous, he loved it too much to leave it. He watched as the canoes holding his neighbors, their families and all their possessions set out into the ocean, heading to one of the other islands. He stayed and watered his yams until the ground was too hot and the yams were cooking in the ground.
When the lava started to flow, the man was not surprised. The sky glowed and the molten rock moved sluggishly down the side of the mountain. It would be a while before the lava made it to his house so he went inside to eat one of his cooked yams and wait.
He had just sat down when there was a knock at the door.
At his door was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Her hair was long and dark, with hints of red and it covered most of her body. He wasn’t sure if she wore clothes or not but her breasts were large and her hips were wide and it was no hardship to invite her in to share his dinner.
“Why are you still here?” she asked him. “Don’t you know the volcano is dangerous?”
“Dangerous?” he asked her in return. “How can it be dangerous? It gives this island life and makes the crops grow. It may destroy the things men make on it’s surface but they are only man things, as temporary as the people who made them.”
“Do you really think that? Wouldn’t it make you sad if the volcano ended your life now, in your temporary little shelter?”
“I would regret the loss of my life, yes, but I would join the ancestors and my body would fertilize the next batch of yams the next farmer planted here. There is little truly lost and much beauty to be had.”
“You find the volcano beautiful, then?” The woman blushed and looked down at her hands.
“Intoxicatingly so,” he said. “I would wish for nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with the lovely volcano.”
“You speak so well, for a man,” she said to him. “I will lie with you and be with you until the lava takes you.”
When the man’s neighbors returned, they found him watering the ground around his home, touching gently the waves the lava had formed over his home. It had come right up to his door then turned away, as though it couldn’t bare to touch it.
“What happened?” they asked him. “Did you turn the lava back on your own?”
“I turned nothing away,” the man told them. “The volcano decided it loved me as much as I loved it and it would see me continue my mortal life.”
The people understood and the man was left alone unless he sought out company. Though believed to be incredibly lucky, none of the mothers in the village tried to get him to take their daughters as his wife because he already had one. His children were said to walk the island when the other inhabitants left.
One day, when the man was very old, the volcano erupted again. None of the people came to ask him to go with them though they could see him watching them as they rowed away to safety. There were some, on the last boat and with sharper eyes than most, who say he was joined by a beautiful woman as the lava poured down the mountain.
His home was not there when they returned.