They lived together in a chalet outside of the town where their company kept its theater. Both loved nature and longed to set their sore feet into the soft earth somewhere far off and secluded. Their housekeeper told them of a place she had visited as a child that was forested and where magical birds sang incredible songs from the tree tops. She had dreamed of it later in life and always when she arrived she was a child again.
So the dancer and ballerina set off to find the woods and venture barefoot into its meadows. They rode their horses all morning and into the afternoon. The air was perfect, the horses strong and they so enjoyed each other that time went by without notice.
Suddenly a light breeze came to ruffle them. A beautiful feather flew by, then came back and flew past again. The horses ears perked up. The feather played in the wind just in front of their surprised eyes. "Let's follow it" cried the ballerina. They galloped after the soaring feather into a deep forest. Of a sudden the feather shot up in the air and disappeared.
The two got off their horses, took off their shoes and sank their feet in the cool grass and earth. "It feels magical here." said the dancer. The fresh scent of earth and forest, the sparkling bird songs, the peaceful quiet that had come over the horses—led them into a happy trance.
They sat by a brook to refresh their feet in the gurgling water. Without speaking, the two sat in reverie. At last, the ballerina looked around and did not know where they were. "How are we going to find our way home?" Her companion was lost in dreaming, and did not answer. A bird flew down and landed on a limb nearby. It cocked it's head to see the ballerina, chirped and flew away. The ballerina followed it as it fluttered into the forest and suddenly faces began appearing from each tree trunk. She grabbed her companions arm. "I see faces in the trees!" The dancer had his eyes closed and was smiling. "Yes, I know. They are the ancestors."
Then one of the tree faces spoke. "We are glad that you two have found us. We know your love of life and dance, and that is why we sent the dancing feather to bring you here. You are now refreshed and though you think you are lost, you are not. You have found magic. By one of your horses you will find a small stone box inlaid with pearl and garnet. Open it and you will find a shell. In the shell is oil. Take this oil on your finger and rub it onto the forehead of your horses. They will take you home." With this, the faces disappeared into the forest.
The day had grown long. The ballerina found the tiny inlaid stone box by one of the horses. She opened it and saw a glistening seashell with oil. Dabbing it on her fingers, she rubbed it on the horses forehead. They shook their manes and danced their hooves on the ground, ready to gallop.
© Steven Boone 2017 All Rights Reserved
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