In a green valley, serene as a star and silent as the moon—except for the Saturday laughter of children and the sound of summer thunder—a rose and a fountain grew restless as time crept on.
“This is our sorrow: We’re here today and here tomorrow,” sighed the rose. “I wish I were rootloose and fancy-free, like the dove.”
“I want to see what’s in the wood,” the fountain said. “I want to have adventures to cherish and regret.” He signaled the dove in a cipher of sparkle, and the dove came down from the sky and made a graceful landing.
“What’s in the wood?” the fountain asked. “You have wings and you must know, for there’s nowhere you cannot go.”
“I like to fly above the green valley,” said the dove. “The green valley is all I know, and all I want to know.”
“Stars fall in a pool in the wood,” the rose declared. “I hear them sputter when they strike the water. I could fish them up and dry them out and sell them to a king, if I had wings like you,” she told the dove.
“I like it where I am,” the dove replied, “flying above the valley. I watch the stars that do not fall, and would not want to sell them.”
“It is always the same wherever one is,” complained the rose.
“To my eye, it is always changing,” said the dove.
“I am weary of playing in this one spot forever,” whimpered the fountain. “The same old patterns every day. Help, help, another spray!”
“There’s nothing in the wood, I think, but horned owls in hollow oaks,” the dove declared, “and violets by mossy stones.”
“Violence by mossy stones is what I crave!” the fountain cried. “I’d love to meet the waterfall in silver combat, and damned be him who first dries up!”
“I have nothing to remember and nothing to forget,” sighed the rose. “I waste my sweetness on the verdant air.” “I like it here” was all the dove would say.
But the rose and the fountain kept after him every day of every week, and when the summer waned, they convinced the dove he loved the wood, admired horned owls, and ought to spend his life salvaging stars and meeting waterfalls in silver combat.
So the dove flew away into the wood and never came back. There were many varied rumors of the nature of his end.
The four winds whispered that the dove had ceased to be because of mossy stones, half-hidden violets, or violence, malicious waterfalls, and owls in trees, but the wood thrush contended the dove had died while playing with burning stars. One thing was sure: The dove had ended the way no other dove had ever ended.
MORAL: He who lives another’s life another’s death must die.