Voice Card  -  Volume 16  -  John Card Number 2  -  Wed, Aug 29, 1990 01:03 AM

This is ONE OF 2 responses to Vol 15 John 3 ("The Hundred Glass Jars")...

[This is part eight of "Dolphin & Melanie"]

And now we come to the most difficult part of our story. For Melanie was right: the little door with the heart shaped window led to a fair country inside the Last Mountains. But this country is larger and more strange than either one of them could have possibly imagined. It is a place much bigger than its borders, full of things larger inside than out. Those who have been there speak of flowers that smell like meadows and oceans that fit inside seashells. It is a bewildering country that no explorer can ever map, though many have tried.

When Dolphin entered this realm he was at first so overwhelmed that he staggered about like a drunken man. Everything seemed newly minted and the grass sparkled like rain-washed emeralds. The air was so clear he could see into the eyes of birds as they flew overhead and could even tell what they were thinking. Every field mouse was wild as a tiger and the rivers tasted like pink champagne.

One day he spotted an iridescent bird sitting in a silver tree. He climbed up after it and found instead a clump of yearberries. The first one he tasted was so delicious and yet so unlike anything he had ever experienced that he almost fell out of the tree. Eagerly he reached for a second berry, but it had a totally different taste. The third was even more unique and just as unforgettable as the first two. After thirty berries he was in agony, knowing that each time the juice slid down his throat he would never taste it's like again.

Dolphin ached to tell someone about the places he was visiting and all the things he was seeing and smelling and tasting, but no one could hear him. The woods were full of men and women holding hands and chasing each other through the trees. And there was many a charming cottage spilling over with noisy children. Yet no one ever talked to Dolphin or paid him any mind. Without his heart, they couldn't even see him.

Dolphin began to haunt their houses, staring through windows as they sat before a fire, or even sitting by their beds as they slept. He soon came across the milkmaid and the stable boy and was astonished at how beautiful they were: she so tall and fair, he so strong and true. The enchanted atmosphere of that country made it possible for him to see them as they saw each other.

As he wandered through the countryside his ears strained to hear the faintest sigh of an ocean and the cold hole in his chest continued to suck and burn. More and more he thought of Melanie. He wondered about the birds that flew to her that final night; he wondered what she was doing with her summer on the other side of the mountains. He imagined himself sitting once again at her fire, telling her of his adventures, watching her eyes grow wide. And he wondered how she would appear to him if only he could see her through clear pure air of Loveland.