Last week, I wrote a haibun entitled “The Legend of Stars”. While I received some wonderful positive feedback, I was not entirely happy with the piece, and so I have re-written all but the first paragraph. If you have read the original, please let me know what you think…which version is better? What changes should I still make?
Each evening, as the season shifts from Summer towards Winter, the blanket of night comes a bit earlier, and covers the sleepy Earth a little bit longer. The blanket, though, is old, and filled with holes that let in the cold. The maker of the blanket once asked the inhabitants of this planet if he should craft for them a new blanket. A warmer cover to drive away the chill of winter nights.
The people called a meeting to discuss whether they should accept a new blanket. The gathering was considered by all to be mere formality, for who could possibly have reason against the generous gift?
One after another, men, women, and even children came forward and spoke of how much they would benefit from a warmer blanket. Just before the meeting could adjourn, however, an elderly lady slowly rose to her feet. When she stood, silence fell on the assembly, for although she had been blind for many years, she was renowned for her remarkable foresight.
“Before we accept this gift,” she advised, “let us go outside.”
Curious to discover what she was trying to tell them, the meeting quickly moved from the comfort of the hall to the biting cold of the winter night.
“Look around and tell me what you see.”
A young boy, impatient for the warmth that would come with the blanket, replied, “What do you care what we can see, for you are blind.”
“I have not always been thus, child, and therefore, I know what I have lost much more than you understand what you retain.”
The boy then took the time to take a good look around him. “I see the world in shades of blue. Subdued, and yet beautiful. And I see the snow sparkling as if infused with diamonds.”
“And now, look up.”
As those assembled turned their gaze upwards, they saw, at first, nothing but the holes in the blanket. Eventually, however, they began to see what she had been trying to show them. One by one, they saw that which could not exist if the blanket were replaced.
Once more, the woman’s voice was heard: “While it may be true that the cold leaks in through the blanket’s many holes, you see now that light also finds its way in. As you gaze up at the blanket on this cold winter’s night, ask yourself if you would truly give up the immense beauty of the light, just for a little bit of warmth?”
a grey wolf shivers
in the chilly winter night –
then howls in joy