The Pegasaur

The old hunter stared wearily at the magnificent creature in front of him.  He couldn’t believe that he had managed to capture this unknown creature with his horribly put together dragon trap.  He wondered if his wife would awaken him with her sickly coughs and moans soon.  But, surely, this could not be a dream, for who could ever imagine such a creature?

            He gazed at the creature as the sun glinted off the brilliant silver scales decorating its spines, hind legs, and tail.  Catching his eyes were the silver and gold feathers lining the beasts wings, leaving silver hair resting over the horse-like appearance of the head and chest.  The eyes of the creature remained open as the hunter, waiting patiently for the rest of his clan to arrive, studied him.  The creature’s eyes were glittering gold and marked with intelligence.  No, this could not be a dream.  Never before had a creature of this sort been seen and never could it have been imagined.

            Acknowledging that this was indeed happening, the old hunter smiled with glee.  He wouldn’t be the joke of the clan anymore.  When he was a younger man, he was praised for the fine catches he would make.  Every other day it seemed that creatures in the wood would just happily run into his trap.  Whether it was a fire fox or a vegetable lamb, the hunter was able to catch it.  As he became older and older and procured more injuries on the hunting trips, he seemed to lose his grip on hunting.  Once he was the greatest hunter in the land and now he was the joke of the clan, not being able to catch a mere snow squirrel in the middle of July.  The old hunter was delighted that this was not a dream.  He lifted his head as the breeze from the west moved his long, scraggly hair and gently stirred the leaves.  He looked up into the sky, noticing the position of the sun.

            A quarter of the way up, they should be here soon, he thought to himself.

            The clouds were gently drifting by.  The birds were…  No, they weren’t chirping.  The sound of the forest creature’s…  No, there was no sound.  Apart from the sound of the wind, the forest was dreadfully silent.  The quietness was unsettling.  The old man had never experienced such a silence in the forest usually in abundance of sound and he was anxious to get out of there as soon as possible, away from the unbearable silence with the unknown cause.  The hunter started to pace as he waited for the other hunters to arrive.

            The beast just lay there, caught in the dragon trap, with what looked like … Compassion in its magnificent eyes.

            Where are they?  He pondered mere seconds before the rustling in the undergrowth gave way to the band of hunters.

            “’Bout time you got here!  I only was waitin’ for nearly two hours in this godforsaken clearing.  It’s this damned silence; it’s unsettlin’!”  He blabbed on and on as the rest of the hunters captured their first look of the creature before them.

            “Looks beautiful!”

            “I wonder if that’s real silver on ‘im?”

            “Do you think we could pass it off as dragon meat?”

            “The feathers would sell at market.”

            The hunters were discussing incessantly about the gains they would make from this perfect catch.  All the while, the old hunter stood there, watching the creature who probably could have escaped from his pitiful attempt at a trap.  As the old hunter thought this, the creature blinked as a single tear dropped to the ground, one single silver tear.  The ground shook suddenly as the teardrop was absorbed into the ground.  Only the old hunter seemed to notice that upon the ground the teardrop fell, the flowers seemed to get brighter and denser, the grass seemed to become greener.  How could he let them kill this creature that they knew nothing of, this beautiful enigma of a being?

            “Earthquake!”  cried one of the hunters.

            “Let’s just kill it now before something else comes along to kill us!” proclaimed another.

            “Why do we haf’tuh- kill the creature?  We don’t even know what it is!” asked the old hunter as he hobbled up past the other hunters and towards the creature.

            “That’s what we do,” asserted the chief, “We hunt, we capture, we kill, we profit.  Who cares what the thing is as long as it’s worth somethin’!”

            “But why?  Is that the only purpose of us existin’?  Surely there’s more t’life than this, destroying an innocent that we know nothin’ of?  How do we even know if it’s not poisonous?”

            “It is what it is and we’ll soon find out.  Now stand back,” the chief ordered as the other hunters murmured their approval.  The old hunter stayed where he was, finally realizing that what he had been doing for more than 50 years of his life wasn’t for survival, but for sport and gain.  If only his ailing wife could see him now, she would be proud.  “Move, old man.”  The chief pushed him into the other hunters as he walked toward the creature, “Hold ‘im back.”

As the old hunter stared on, dreading the death of this innocent creature, the beast raised its head and looked straight into his eyes.  The creature’s eyes now held a look of both pure joy and sorrow, waiting for the next moment to finally happen.

            Confused and frightened by the creatures’ act, the chief drew his sword and stabbed the beast in the heart.  Not a sound was heard throughout the forest as the beast laid his head back on the ground, dying.  It was as if the whole forest was mourning the capture and death of the beautiful creature.  But wait, looking at the creature the hunters realized that something peculiar was happening.  It was melting!  The hunters stared in astonishment, at what would have been the hunter’s greatest catch, as it melted to a sticky silver substance that proceeded to sink into the ground.  A small rumble shook the ground yet again.

            “What is this sorcery?  Let’s  leave this godsforsaken place!” cried their leader.

            All of the hunters, save one, left the clearing and traveled with angry hearts at the loss of their prey.  The original, old hunter stayed in the clearing, staring at the spot the beast had been laying.  A third rumble stirred the ground and in the blink of an eye four creatures, similar to the previously captured one apart from their colors and smaller sizes, materialized before his eyes.  It was as if they came directly from the ground.  Oh, the surprise he felt as one of those magnificent creatures approached him.  From the mouth of the green-feathered creature before him, a vial dropped at his feet with what looked to be the tear of the beast they had so callously murdered in greed.  Scared to move, the old hunter waited until the creatures had flown from the clearing before picking up the vial.  Upon closer examination, the hunter realized that there was an inscription on the cork.  The only word he could make out was “Heal.”  This was surely a gift from the gods.


            The old man immediately knew that the gods favored the creature he had caught.  Although they had killed the innocent being, its death had allowed four new creatures to be born and now his wife might finally be healed from her cursed illness.  He had shown compassion toward the creature and had experienced a change of heart, deserving, in the creatures eyes, the wonderful gift of its healing tears.  As he backed out of the clearing, he gave a silent prayer of thanks to the gods.

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