Bear emerges from her cave and blinks in the sun. She understands that life outside continued in her absence. Birdsong, blossom, and breeding: nothing was on hold while she slept. The hunter emerges from his hut hungry and wild with resentment at being shut away with himself so long. He races back to spearing and feeding. Reaching the river, he mistakes the little ripples he causes, believing himself to be the deep current. Gatherers emerge, leading by the hand the many unable to run with the hunt: the old, ill, tired, confused, unhappy, those stripped of dignity, or companionship. Let us be gatherers in the morning, when we emerge. Having the strength and wisdom of bears, they understand: none of us is the deep current, but only something carried in cycles.
Claire O'Brien is a prize-winning author of funny stories and fairy tales for children. She has been published by OUP, Orchard and Franklin Watts. Claire also writes about Buddhism and mid-life (Mudpiebooks). Currently, she is working on audio fairy tales and a fantasy novel for 7-12 years inspired by the fairy tales of Madame d'Aulnoy. She Tweets at @ClaireOBriennow and her website is https://www.claireobrien.co.uk