Once, a beautiful girl called Mia walked with the earth. She lived alone in the deep of the forest, communing with the animals and the plants. As she grew into her womanhood, she was happy, fulfilled as she created her own world of peace and joy. Her hair grew wild and long, shimmering in the light like the webs of the spiders kissed with dew in the morning. Her eyes became as blue as the skies after the spring rains. Her skin, soft as a lambs ear, grew rich and brown under the loving gaze of the sun.
Despite the peace she felt in the quiet of her home, she was lonely. One morning, as she was sitting beneath the trees, listening to the sound of the wind laughing, she felt this melancholy more deeply than she ever had before. She looked to the skies and whispered a fervent hope for a companion. The earth listened to her plea, and sent to her a beautiful bird. Its green and gold plumage rivaled the dizzying beauty of the wildflowers in the field. Its tail was long and elegant, its song sweeter than any Mia had ever heard from a bird before.
The wind skittered and laughed as the bird lit upon her outstretched hand. She stroked its head gently, singing a joyful song with it, her eyes alight with laughter, her heart full at last. She called the bird Siko, and made it her companion.
During the happy days of spring and summer Siko flew with her always, singing and chattering. She worked with the earth, her heart full and happy, singing with her companion of their happiness and devotion. Beneath her hands, so full of joy and thankfulness, the earth responded to her as never before. The rains fell warm and gentle on her garden. It bloomed in the quiet wilderness with brillance. The flowers danced and the trees sang their songs with her. When she rose in the morning the wind greeted her happily, sending its cooling kiss into her home and along the meadows to reassure her of the safety and goodness of the world.
Her companion grew as well, more large and brilliant with every passing day. The songs Siko sang reminded her of a dance. Their laughter and play filled the evening hours. In the light of the evening fire, Mia would bury her face close to the bird and whisper her secrets and hopes. She kissed its beak and stroked its plumage with all the gentleness of a mother or a lover. Her heart would break and remend each night as the bird flew from her hands into the dark of the evening, only to return with a gift of wildflowers or sweet smelling herb for her.
When the days grew longer and darker, Mia sensed the restlessness of her friend. She sent Siko out to fly and to breathe in the cold winter air. Standing at her window she would hum a special song, and when she heard it echo from the treetops at night, she knew her friend was close, and she was not forgotten. So long as she could call to Siko, she felt safe, loved and needed. The bird visited frequently, feathers still warm with flight. Alighting on her windowsill, it would call for her, and she would answer joyfully, singing back her joy as she threw open the shutters.
When spring came again Mia danced into her garden, calling and singing for her companion with all her heart.
But Siko did not come.
She reassured herself, whispering that all creatures great and small needed freedom and light as they grew. She knew she would see her friend soon enough. So she worked happily in the earth, making her home more beautiful with the passing spring days. From time to time she would hear a faint call, no more than an echo, and she could swear it was her beloved companion on the way home to her. She continued to hope.
Just as the spring turned to summer Mia woke one morning to the song she knew and loved best. She dashed outside, her feet bare, her hair streaming behind her, into the gardens where she had loved to walk. Her heart was full of hope, her eyes streaming with joy as her dear Siko called for her with longing and love.
Alas, as she ran swiftly throughthe trees, laden with fruit and flowers, she saw what had made her companion sing so joyfully. A woman- regal, full of grace and power, stood among the branches holding on her arm Mia's beloved bird. Her breath drew short and hard as she looked at the pair of them. The woman's hair, jet and shimmering like a rook, fell heavily over her body. Siko was nestled in it, cooing to her as a lover would. The sun threw down her golden light upon them, and they glowed with the painful clarity of love.
Heartbroken, Mia turned away. Swiftly, her feet led her to the quiet place of the forest, a great stream filled with glimmering stones. She walked to the edge, putting her feet in, sitting down and feeling the water on her legs. She tumbled back, her hair in the tall grass, her hands clutching at the wildflowers she loved best. As she ran her fingers through its emerald tendrils and looked above her to the golden glimmer of the flowers, she began to cry. They reminded her so very much of Siko.
Her tears fell steadily, hopelessly, longingly onto the ground. As the fell to the grass, and to the stream where she lay brokenhearted, the earth heard her cry. It turned slowly, pityingly, for her, and as she wept she felt herself change. The world grew taller, larger, more intimidating than ever it had seemed before. Her arms stretched out, her hair flew back, and suddenly, she knew what it was to fly.
Above the earth her wings outstretched, her body small and hollow and swift, she flew far from the place where she knew she could not stay. If she were to hear Siko's song, what was left of her would surely crumble to dust. But she listened to the wind as it whistled through the trees, bolstering her, guiding her.
After the moon had passed her many nights, telling her to hope, she finally landed among the branches of a sweet smelling tree where white flowers bloomed and glimmered like the evening itself. Below it, she heard the soft, gentle whisper of a girl. She heard the gentle plea fall from her lips, the plea for love and devotion, one she had whispered not so long ago. Her heart swelled, and from her burst a song of devotion like she had never sung before- one infinately more sweet, more gentle, more tender than she knew she could coax from herself. She fluttered softly into the outstretched arms of the girl and saw the hope and loneliness she knew for her own.
So this girl took her, called her Gia, and whispered her thanks to heaven for answering her half-hopful prayer.
They sang together as the night drew quietly around them. Silver clouds danced in the sky and the wind murmured its satisfaction. Gia took flight, only briefly, to snatch one of the moonshot flowers from the tree. Returning to the girl, she laid it in her lap and sat upon her knee.
In that moment they both knew hope. The girl took her up gently, and they went into her home, seeking love and devotion together.