The Clouds and Trees 

A woman bought a field of clouds and elegant trees. Pilgrims would come to view the cumulus, taste the amber sap and stroll under roofs of whispering leaves. For some years, she cultivated it in peace until clerks, new priests, teachers and magistrates came to tell her how she should grow and tend to it. She followed their advice, and within a season, the leaves fell, disclosing the nudity of the dried up branches. The dark soil turned to red sand. The woman left without locking the gate to the park. Nobody knew where she went or if she would someday return. Losing interest in her desert, the clerks, teachers, new priests and magistrates also abandoned the far field. In the following years, however, old priests and pilgrims returned. They returned to admire the gnarled roots, the petrified stumps, and the dried-out bushes, staring blissfully into the epiphany of the cloudless blue sky and the red sands, as if viewing the approach of magi and their caravans. 

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