The Firebird LIII



She fell silent again, but not for long.  I saw her studying me intently and knew that she could see the question in my face.  I needed – or wanted – to know more.  So did my companion, the boy who had been the man on the raft so many long ages ago.  It was he who put my thoughts into words.

“Please,” he said, his face turned up to hers.  “Why the scar over the place of his heart?  What does it mean?”

“More than I can say,” she answered.  “And far more than you are prepared to hear or understand.  But among other things, it means what all scars mean – that he was wounded.  More:  that the wounding, though past and healed, has left its mark.  It means, as I have already told you, that he has become like you.  And in so doing he has opened up the way for you to become what you are now – in other words, like him.  This wound, this drink from the well, this loss of one eye to enhance the power of the other – all of it has made him a tiny child, here beyond the sun, here at the meeting place of sky and sea and land.  Here and everywhere it is Christmas morning.  See!  He is in the cradle!”

With that she smiled, touched one hand to my cheek, and laid the other on the boy’s shoulder.  “Now up the beach!” she said.  “To the well and the wood!  There’s no time to lose!  The others are already far ahead of you!”

Indeed they were.  As if from a great distance I could hear their voices drifting to us from the forested bank:


Hush!  Hush!  See how the child is sleeping!

                      Hush!  Hush!  See how he smiles in dreams!


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