One man sees a riselka: his life forks there. Two men see a riselka: one of them shall die. Three men see a riselka: one is blessed, one forks, one shall die. One woman sees a riselka: her path comes clear to her. Two women see a riselka: one of them shall bear a child. Three women see a riselka: one is blessed, one is clear, one shall bear a child.
Fantasy is, at its best, the purest access to storytelling that we have. It universalizes a tale, it evokes wonder and timeless narrative power, it touches upon inner journeys, it illuminates our collective and individual pasts, throws a focus beam on the present day, and presages the dangers and promises of the future.
A hard truth: that courage can be without meaning or impact, need not be rewarded, or even known. The world has not been made in that way. Perhaps, however, within the self there might come a resonance, the awareness of having done something difficult, of having done . . . something.
My youngest brother had a wonderful schtick from some time in high school, through to graduating medicine. He had a card in his wallet that read, ‘If I am found with amnesia, please give me the following books to read …’ And it listed half a dozen books where he longed to recapture that first glorious sense of needing to find out ‘what happens next’ … the feeling that keeps you up half the night. The feeling that comes before the plot’s been learned.
There was some sadness in how that could happen, Tai thought: falling out of love with something that had shaped you. Or even people who had? But if you didn't change at least a little, where were the passages of a life? Didn't learning, changing, sometimes mean letting go of what had once been seen as true?
We worship…the powers that speak to our souls, if it seems they do. We do so knowing there is more to the world, and the half-world, and perhaps worlds beyond, than we can grasp. We always knew that. We can’t even stop children from dying, how would we presume to understand the truth of things? Behind things? Does the presence of one power deny another? [p. 176]