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Beauty they had found before my eyes to see
To the next door we came

I walked for hours, no end of the trees in sight, not another person, no change in the setting sun... Finally I decided to stop for a rest. I curled up under a tree and as I began to doze off I heard footsteps on the fallen leaves some distance away. I sat up to listen more closely, but the footsteps died away. I settled back down and suddenly a voice very near rang out: "Breathe deep the gathering gloom. Cold hearted orb that rules the night removes the colors from our sight. Red is gray and yellow white."

I sat up to see who was speaking, but I saw no one. I thought my imagination might be playing tricks, I felt very tired. I lay back down. "Wasting time's an aggravation, no time for confrontation. You want to take a lot, by love by law or stealth-- time's the only real wealth you have got."

I immediately stood up. "All right! Who's there?" I called. Nothing. "Come on! I know you're there! Show yourself!" I heard very soft laughter that gradually grew louder and heartier. Then I saw movement among the trees. A grotesque silhouette of a man appeared before me. Then I realized the man wore a costume-- a large pointy hat adorned with bells. As he drew nearer, I heard the slight tinkling of the bells with each step. In the dim light, his costume appeared gray and white-- not the colorful suit of a jester. "What business have you to disturb my sleep?" I asked.

"Night time, to some a brief interlude, to others the fear of solitude," he said. "You shouldn't be alone out here-- it hasn't been safe since the blue darkness struck. I don't like to be alone. Will you keep me company?" He pranced all around me, the bells on his hat and shoes bouncing and ringing with every jump. He laughed.

"You're insane," I said. "Leave me alone." He shook his head. "Can't do that. Be it sight, sound, smell, or touch, there's something inside that we need so much. The sight of a touch, or the scent of a sound, to fly to the sun without burning a wing, to lie in a meadow and hear the grass sing, to have all these things in our memory's hoard, and to use them to help us, to find..." He laughed again, and for a brief instant I swore I saw the Jester's costume flash from gray and white to red and yellow.

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