went and stood by the river. The river was a powerful one. It gushed with a loud roar under the bright autumn sun. I jumped
into the deep side of the river. Immediately, I went under the cool water. But the river brought me up again. I coughed with
pain. I was ready to die, but the river refused to kill me. Like a mother, it carried me on its waves and carefully deposited
me on its bank.
could not help but laugh at my predicament - I could not even die! I sat on the bank and laughed. Soon the laughter turned
into deep sobs. I had never cried like this before. Remorse engulfed me. My body hurt with each sob. I cried for my lost brother,
my lost castle and most of all, I cried at the lost chance to go into the city behind the hidden door.
sat and wept there for several hours. Finally, exhausted and spent, I lay down. I must have nodded off because when I awoke,
night with its crisp sounds had arrived. Half awake, my attention went to the night sounds. The night, the river and the trees
seemed to be saying something to me. I listened intently.
the sounds merged and murmured, “One.”
puzzled by this, I fell asleep again and woke up just before the sun did. Slowly I sat up. I was stiff from the cold. I stretched
out. My arms were up in the air and just then the sunlight burst through the air dispelling the night's reign of darkness.
I cannot put into words what happened
to me at that moment. The brightness and the warmth of the sun, the merriness of the river, the coolness of the air, the dance
of the trees all joined together and invited me to become one of them. I now understood “One” -we were all one.
I was one of them and they were one of me. I was in them and they were in me. I could not exist without them nor could they
without me. I closed my eyes and heard everything say, “One ... One ... One.” Slowly I lowered my arms. That one
moment had completely rejuvenated me. I got up and turned around to go back to the city. One look at the city far away in
the mist was enough to drain some of me. No! I decided, I would not go back to that heartless and dreadful place. I looked
back at the river and it smiled at me. I smiled back. Once again I listened to the river. To my great surprise and joy, it
invited me along. That was the first friendly thing anybody had said to me since I lost my castle.