The Stargazer and the Firefly

One night, in a barn far far away from the city life, two little piglets were staring at the night sky, brightly amused by the sparkle of the stars. The other animals in the barn were asleep, while the others were busy minding their own business. These little piglets have been together for sometime in the pen they share. They were both white with patches of black.

“I wonder what they are made of,” the bigger piglet said to no one in particular. “They sparkle so nice and bright.”

The smallish piglet came closer to him and asked “Do you think stars are like fireflies? They shine at night and can’t be seen by day.”

“Fireflies are insects, stars are heavenly things smallish piglet,” said the bigger one.

“So where do they go when we can’t see them?” Asked the smallish one.

The bigger piglet stared at the stars and remained silent for he does not know the answer.

From her hollow in the holm-oak tree the old wise Owl heard them, and she looked out through the hollow, and wondered.

“Here at last is the innocence of two young creatures,” said the Owl. “I have seen them wonder at the stars every night, asking questions to one another yet having no answer at all. They never fail to amaze me with such youthful curiosity of things about life.” She opened her wide wings and flew in through the pen of the little piglets, landing on one of the pillars.

“Stars are beautiful things, aren’t they?” The Owl asked the piglets.

“Oh yes, they are,” agreed the smallish piglet. “They say you are old and wise, do you know what the stars are made of? My brother wants to know.”

“I do not know exactly, but I have a story to tell that might answer both your questions,” replied the old wise Owl. “I have been watching and listening to you both for some nights now, you see.”

“Does that story concern us by any means?” The bigger piglet asked skeptically.

“It does, for it might answer your questions in one way or another. And it is applicable to you.”

“Then I am willing to listen.” The bigger piglet lay himself and prepared to listen.

“Fine by me, since I am fond of fiction.” Smiled the smallish piglet and settled himself to listen beside the bigger piglet.

“Once a upon a time,” said the Owl, “there was a young stargazer who lived in barn.”

“Is he very distinguished and well-educated?” Asked the smallish piglet.

“No,” answered the owl. “I don’t think he was distinguished at all, except for his enthusiasm about the stars. He grew up in a barn and has never studied about the stars. All he knew about them was the things his father and mother told him.

“Every night, he would sit atop their roof and stare at the stars with such amazement beyond compare. Of all the million of pecks of tiny sparkling dust scattered in the dark velvet of the night sky, one proved to be his personal favorite. One that out-shined the rest. He would spend hours simply gazing at the star he loves the most.

“Out of his love for the stars, he wished to get closer to them. He saved parts of his earnings till he had enough money and went downtown to buy a pair of quality binoculars.

“That very night, he went up their roof with the binoculars laced on his neck. He stared at the stars again with his own naked eyes with much amazement. He was excited about using his new tool and seeing the stars closer. He fixed his eyes on his favorite and smiled to himself.

“’Isn’t she beautiful?’ he said to himself with his eyes still fixed on the star.

“’But sir,’ a voice came, ‘that star is a he.’

“He jumped and twisted and searched for the owner of the voice. ‘Where are you? Who are you?’ he asked incognizantly.

“’Here I am Sir,’ the voice came again as a tiny speck of light came floating in front of him, ‘I am a firefly Sir.’

“Oh, I see,’ the Stargazer sighed his relief, ‘are you here to gaze at them, too?’ he asked.

“’Yes, dear Sir,’ the Firefly answered.

“’How come you said that that star is a he?’ the Stargazer asked.

“’You see dear Sir,’ the Firefly started to answer, ‘When fireflies die, we become stars. And that star you happen to be musing at used to be my best friend. He was the noblest of us fireflies. When he died, he became the brightest of the stars. He out-shined any other fireflies. He out-shines any other stars.’

“The Stargazer laughed mockingly, ‘Fireflies become stars when they die? That is the most ridiculous thing I have heard,’ he mocked the insect. ‘Look, you are a small worthless insect. Those are stars. Yes, you both glow during the night but you are different. You float not higher than that tree; they float higher than the earth.’

“’But I am telling you the truth,’ the Firefly defended himself calmly, ‘That star you are looking at is my best friend. He died a few cycles ago.’

“A few cycles ago?’ echoed the Stargazer, ‘I have been gazing at that star since I was younger. And I haven’t seen any firefly turning into a star since.’

“’Just because you haven’t seen it doesn’t mean it isn’t true Sir,’ the Firefly replied ‘There are things that cannot be seen by our unaided eyes. There is more than meets the eye Sir.’

“’But what else I haven’t seen that you have?’ cried the Stargazer ‘I have lived more than you have, I know better things than you do.’

“’Knowledge and wisdom does not come with age dear Sir,’ replied the Firefly ‘It comes with experiences in life. Not because you have lived longer means you have experience so much, sometimes, those who have lived shorter knows life better.’

“The Stargazer was infuriated with the Firefly. He argued ‘And you mean to say that you have more wisdom than I have? I know everything about the stars that there is to be known about them.’

“’Then dear Sir, can you tell me where do they come from? What are they made of?’ the Firefly politely asked to which the Stargazer fell silent. ‘Why have you fell silent dear Sir?’ the Firefly asked again.

“’Just because I cannot answer does not mean I do not know,’ reasoned the Stargazer, ‘some things are better left unsaid, especially to those you cannot or will not understand,’ he mocked the Firefly.

“’Well, that is your opinion Sir,’ the Firefly replied.

“’Yes, and my opinion cannot be held wrong, can it?’ he asked rhetorically.

“’But that does not make it either right, Sir,’ the Firefly pointed out.

“At that very moment, the Stargazer was already filled with anger. His head was about to burst. ‘I came up here to look at the stars and not to argue with a tiny firefly who would go and tell me that they become stars when they die,’ he snapped.

“’My sincere apologies for that, Sir,’ the Firefly responded politely, ‘then I shall go and take my leave,’ he continued and started to hover off.

“’Wait,’ called the Stargazer, ‘I wanna ask you something before you go,’

“’What is it, Sir?’ inquired the Firefly.

“’Where did you learn that fireflies become stars when they die?’ asked the Stargazer.

“’Well,’ the Firefly started off, ‘that is our belief, Sir. My parents told me which their parents told them which their parents in turn told them. More like the things you know that your parents told you. A belief handed down from generations to generations.’

“And do you really believe you are going to be a star when you die?’ asked the Stargazer.

“’I have seen many a fireflies turned into stars after they died,’ the Firefly responded, ‘all I wish is when I die, I would become a star next to my best friend. I am not as noble as he was, so I expect not to be a brilliant star as he is. A star that cannot even be seen by the unaided human eye. I could go unnoticed, unseen, and unknown. That is alright. I am happy with the thought that I would be next to him. Just like the old days back during the cycle when he was alive.’

“’You are pathetic,’ said the Stargazer, ‘believing in children’s tales. Stars are made of hot gas, glowing in brilliance far batter than those luminaries you have in your bodies. They have been there thousands of years before the cycle you were born. That is the truth about stars.’

“The Firefly continued to hover near the Stargazer. He was as calm as he came. ‘That is human belief, Sir,’ he said, ‘I am a firefly. You ought not to expect me to believe in your children’s tale.’

“’Children’s tale?!’ cried the Stargazer in a very much angered tone, ‘You call that fact a children’s tale? Our wise men have spent years studying the stars and yet you call it children’s tale?’

“’We stand on different poles, Sir,’ reminded the Firefly, ‘I am not to expect that you would believe in me the way I do not believe in you.’

“The Stargazer felt the heat of his temper ran through his body. The heat climbed up from his spine to his head, and having lost all his reason, patience and self-control, he clapped his hands together with the unfortunate, innocent, tiny, defenseless Firefly between them. And heaved a sigh of relief. ‘Good riddance,’ he said to himself.”

“He killed the Firefly?” asked the smallish piglet, sounding a bit shocked.

“Oh no, “ answered the Owl, it was an accident perhaps.”

“Is that the end of the story?” asked the bigger piglet.

“Oh no, not just yet,” answered the Owl, “the Stargazer was relieved that the tiny insignificant insect which tried to fool him about leaving his belief was gone.

“’Pathetic little thing,’ he said to no one since the Firefly was then dead, “I hope you have become a star shining less bright than your best friend yet next to him,’ he mockingly smiled to himself as held his binoculars in his hand, moved it closer to his eyes and gazed at the stars in a new perception.

“He fixed his gaze on his beloved brilliant star. Appreciated it, liked it and loved it. Then he moved his gaze a little away from his beloved star and noticed something he has never seen before. A new star. A star next to his beloved star, yet it shines less bright. He removed his binoculars and the star disappeared from his sight. He put them on again and there is was, back to where he saw it. A new star. Unnoticed, unseen and unknown to the unaided human eye. He shrugged and ignored the new star for it cannot be seen by his eyes alone and continued to gaze the other stars he knew since he was young.”

“Was that all?” asked the smallish piglet after a long pause from the Owl.

“Yes, my dear piglet,” she said, “that is the end.”

“What happened to the Stargazer?” asked the bigger piglet, “did he grow to learn more about the stars?”

“I do not know, my dear,” answered the Owl, “and I am sure that I do not care.”

“Did the Firefly really become a star next to his beast friend?” the smallish piglet asked.

“I cannot answer that, my dear,” said the owl, “the one who made the story did not make up his mind and did not tell me what happened next.”

“What?” complained the bigger piglet, “you said it could answer our questions.”

“In one way or another, it could,” the Owl remarked, “that would all depend on how you see and understand the story, “she continued as she flew back to her hollow, “you better sleep now, tomorrow is another day and another night will follow. Another night to watch the stars.”

“It would have been better if she told us what happened exactly,” the smallish piglet said.

“I am sure she herself does not know what happened,” the bigger piglet replied grumpily, “let’s just go to sleep, shall we?”

They moved in closer to wall of the pen and slept.

The Owl, back in her hollow, eyeing the rodents that might be her dinner was happy that she was finally able to tell one of the stories she had made. The smallish piglet slept beside his brother, convinced that stars are fireflies. The bigger piglet slept, still curious about the stars, he did not care much about the story for the thought from the start that it was stupid like the Owl. The firefly died keeping his integrity; bravely holding on to what he believes is true. The Stargazer was happy with his new binoculars because he could see the stars closer than before.


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