The Water Bearer

Down a small, rocky slope and around a stand of trees thickly clogged with young saplings, Jim drew to a panting halt. Cursing and wheezing, he turned around, but the doctor was nowhere to be seen.

Just then, there came a loud whooping cry, followed by a splash.

Jim spun and heard the glissando of raining water from behind a hillock dotted with wildflowers. Cautiously, he moved toward it, climbed to its crest.

There below him, nestled amid a circlet of massive, old trees, was a small pond, no more than 20 feet across. The trees hemmed it in closely, but all around there was a narrow, grassy bank wide enough to sit or lay upon.

One side of the little pool was crowned with cattails. The trees, twisted, gnarled and moss-slicked, dipped their roots into the pool like tentative bathers.

The pool must have been fed by a spring, for the water was burnished silver, not at all stagnant or green or weed-choked.

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