Day and Night


         I slept, and I dreamed, and in my dream I went up upon a high hill, and looked down upon a far and level plain, and upon the plain were the Day and the Night in contest. And the Day was a great ogre, with blazing beard and red-apple cheeks, whose glare was the sun at midday; and the Night was a pale giantess with a forehead like the full moon. They held between them the tiny figure of a man, and over this meagre prize fought, tugging and twisting, squeezing and stretching, until I saw him cry out in pain and despair. Sometimes the Day was ascendant, and then the man seemed to crisp between the giant’s golden palms; sometimes the Night had the advantage, and the mannikin was smothered in her hair of starless shadow.

            At last it ended. The reedy wail became a shrill whistle, then a hypersonic scream, and with a final convulsion their captive burst down the middle, flying apart in fragments. A tall darkness glided between the contestants to gather up the remains.

            “Mine, I think,” murmured Death.

            Then I woke up.

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