The Namers

The man was sitting in a magnolia tree naming the animals as the day was cooling to evening. He made names for the creatures that could not speak as they passed by, and spoke with the talking beasts about the names he gave them. The beasts were all happy with their new names, thanked the man for them, and went back about their business, leaving the man alone.

The last beast to come along was a painted cat that had spent most of the day napping under a large maple, enjoying its dreams. The sun was already setting by the time the beast stood before the man in his tree. “Are you the one giving names?” it asked the man, who answered that he was.

“I am also a namer,” the beast said. “Come and walk with me.”

They went through the garden as night fell, discussing the names of the plants. The man was good at making appropriate names, but where they were only lyrical, the namer showed him how to add meaning; where they were only descriptive, it showed him how to make them beautiful.

When it grew too dark to see well, the namer let the man ride on its back, and it carried him around the wall of the garden, telling him stories. Even though it was a new creature it had already made as many stories as it had marks on it body. The man was happy with the namer’s company, and when they came to rest for the night, they lay down together and named stars till morning.

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