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Word Count: 2,495
BalsamPaco the CowA breeze and with it the scent of balsam caressed him as he stood in the doorway of the ballroom The large chamber was decorated like a hall of the harvest sprinkled with festive trappings and garlands of fall flowers To the left several musicians prepared for the nights revelry arranging their chairs and tuning their instruments playing lively little tunes to the empty hall and the flowers A group of tables stood clustered to the right empty now but the evening would find them overflowing with food and drink At the far end of the hall a fountain murmured Water flowed from the pitchers of three maidens each as lovely of face and figure as had ever been captured by artists brush or sculptors chisel And the smell of flowers drifted by him The flowers of the harvest The flowers of life Life That was what would be celebrated here tonight Life in all of its glory all of its wonder all of its beauty Music would play dancers would whirl people would laugh and love and live It was what these decorations were all about Life The man turned from the doorway eyes cast downward Life he thought a celebration of beauty and joy a gift given us by the gods He remembered the words that he had been taught as a child not so many years ago And the memory made him sad Later as the musicians played and the dancers spun the man stood alone expressionless in his small room From there he could hear the music drifting on the evening breeze In his minds eye he could see the dancers in their graceful movements He could hear them and he could see them but he could not feel with them The celebration of life was lost to him as though life itself had been lost to him In one of his hands he held a small piece of
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