In the midst of exhaustion, fear, danger, and loneliness, beauty can be a refuge. Difficult things are happening to the Wingibys. The last few weeks’ excerpts have been hard, and next week’s is likely to be hard as well. But for now, just rest here a minute.
The hollow seemed safe enough. It was the first peaceful spot they had found in the Stony Mountains, and he hated to leave. They gathered enough sticks and scrub for a fire and settled in to cook a meal.
The setting sun broke through the clouds and shot a golden beam at Mog-Balgrik. The light transformed the hideous semblance of a face and showed the peak for the ancient beauty that it was.
“Look!” Maraly said.
Janner pulled his gaze from the bright mountain and saw what appeared to be a cloud of yellow flower petals floating down from the slopes to the lake. Then they heard the flutter of wings and the twitter of birdsong. Thousands of yellow birds alighted on the surface of the lake, so many that it looked like the water itself had turned to gold. They sang and groomed their wings in the twilight and were visible long after night fell.
“Hmph,” was all Maraly said, but Janner noticed that she wiped her eyes.
The children fell asleep to the pleasant play of the birds on the water. Janner woke more than once that night to see the starlit creatures still floating on the lake, and he went back to sleep with wonder in his heart.
—From chapter 52, “The Bomnubble and the Lake of Gold.”
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