The lonely king

High atop a snow-capped mountain lived a hermit in a small cottage. Isolated from the world, gnawed at by the teeth of the frigid high altitude winds, he tended to his small fire outside of his home. He lived at the summit of the tallest mount from which he could look in all four compass directions; over the green forests, beyond the orange deserts, across the teal oceans, into the grey cities. He was a king on a polar white thrown high above the rest of the world.

Day after day the hermit would take a seat by the small fire and ensure its survival. He had lit it years ago upon his arrival to his kingdom but, having consumed all his fodder, had been forced to slowly peel away materials from his humble cottage. Not having a means to reignite his small flame he was forced to remain vigilant to its continued burning. As the years went by the fire remained and his abode slowly dwindled.

One evening, as the hermit silently made his way to the cottage and chipped away some tinder to feed the fire, he was suddenly struck by the state of his home. He gazed momentarily at its diminished form, its now unrecognizable shape. Recalling its gradual decent through his even-paced and orderly weathering he found himself presented with a great paradox. In the gradual death of his home, a death that was robbing him of his sanctuary from the elements and portending the end of his own life, his home had evolved, changed, found new form and expressed new meaning. In its gradual death new life had been brought forth in the form of an ever-changing piece of art.

Yet he was the only one to have witnessed the slow transformation, the changing forms. He stared intently, surveying the finality of his work, seeing the careful yet unconscious cuts that had torn his home down. He reminisced about the shapes his home had taken as he cut it apart, the curves that were born, the sharp minarets and dagger like wooden stalagmites. The light of the sun had refracted from the icy snow and cast haunting and captivating shadows on its meandering surfaces. It, his home, had breathed, shifted uneasily yet gracefully, as he had gone about his life. He had unconsciously witnessed the great rending of the mornings form and witnessed the final birth of a new form at nightfall.

So his days had gone, witnessing yet not knowing, aware but not cognizant. The great irony of the world, its indefinable nature, had been lost on him until now. Yet he had seen it. For those last fleeting days of his life he tended to that knowledge as he tended to his flame. And as it quietly sputtered out, its warmth and light dissipating into a lonely landscape, so did his wisdom.

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