First time poster--I live in Maine. ^-^

I didn't even read this over, so any mistakes are my own.



There was once a hill. It was not a tall hill, but it was tall enough to overlook the lonely moors surrounding it. The top of the hill was often buffeted by wind, so grass could not grow there. The hilltop saw the sunrise before any field or tree.

A narrow path traced its way up the hill. A traveler found the path. He was not old, but he was not young. He had been traveling for a long time. When he came to the top on the hill, he saw the unending moors. They were beautiful. He looked down. The ground at his feet was brown and barren where the wind had swept the grass seed away.

'This is where I will live,' said the traveler. 'It is my place, and none other shall set foot on it.' He looked out over the moors and saw no living thing.

He set down his rucksack. He took from it a pot, a blanket, and some wood. He started a fire as the day ended. The hill was the last to see the sun set. The traveler slept.

The traveler lived on the hilltop for many days. He left the hill for water from a stream. He left the hill for plants for food. One morning, he woke as the sun rose. When he turned to see it fully, though, he saw a lion instead. The beautiful creature's yellow starkly contrasted with the dark moors and the blue of the sky.

'Go back to sleep,' said the lion.

'If I sleep, you will kill me,' replied the traveler.

'If you do not sleep, I will starve. I am injured and cannot hunt any that face me. I must kill you.' The traveler saw that the lion spoke truly. Her shoulder was torn so the traveler could see the bone.

'I am sorry,' said the traveler, 'but I must live.'

'As must I,' the lion replied. She needed life in the way that a needle needs an eye: without, it is merely a pin. Her mind was filled with the wind in the grass and the scent of prey in the night-time, and she saw nothing of the future. She had thoughts of deer basking in the sun and fear of crocodiles hiding in the shallows because she knew them. She had no thought of death and no fear of death because she did not know it.

The traveler needed life in the way that trees need wind: without, they would be still. His mind was filled with yesterdays and tomorrows and he saw nothing of the present. He had thoughts of fire crackling and fear of the future. He always had thought of death and always had fear of death because he knew it, but did not understand it.

'You will die,' said the traveler, for he would not relinquish his life. The lion realized that she must die and she would die. Then she understood that there could be no now left, and she died.

The traveler stood. He put his pot, blanket, and unused wood in his rucksack. He left the barren hilltop, now occupied by death, and set out across the lonely moors. Sorrow for the lion's death settled on him and remained. The lion felt no sorrow.