Balsam Essay Research Paper Paco the Cow

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Balsam Essay, Research Paper Paco the Cow Balsam A breeze, and with it the scent of balsam, caressed him as he stood in the doorway of the ballroom. The large chamber was decorated like a hall of the harvest, sprinkled with festive trappings and garlands of fall flowers. To the left, several musicians prepared for the night’s revelry, arranging their chairs and tuning their instruments; playing lively little tunes to the empty hall and the flowers. A group of tables stood clustered to the right; empty now, but the evening would find them overflowing with food and drink. At the far end of the hall, a fountain murmured. Water flowed from the pitchers of three maidens, each as lovely of face and figure as had ever been captured by artist’s brush or sculptor’s chisel. And

the smell of flowers drifted by him. The flowers of the harvest. The flowers of life. Life. That was what would be celebrated here tonight. Life in all of its glory, all of its wonder, all of its beauty. Music would play, dancers would whirl, people would laugh and love and live. It was what these decorations were all about. Life. The man turned from the doorway, eyes cast downward. “‘Life,” he thought, “a celebration of beauty and joy; a gift given us by the gods.’” He remembered the words that he had been taught as a child, not so many years ago. And the memory made him sad. Later, as the musicians played and the dancers spun, the man stood alone, expressionless, in his small room. From there he could hear the music drifting on the evening breeze. In his mind’s

eye he could see the dancers in their graceful movements. He could hear them and he could see them, but he could not feel with them. The celebration of life was lost to him; as though life itself had been lost to him. In one of his hands he held a small piece of parchment, badly creased and tattered; in the other, a small circlet of braided hair. These two pieces of his past were more precious to him than any other possession, yet at this moment, his aching heart wished that these gifts, and the accompanying memories, would vanish. He brought the circlet to his face, and with it he caressed his cheek. Through the smell of leather and smoke and sweat, he could still smell a hint of balsam, her favorite scent. Or did he just imagine it? He closed his eyes and a tear fell onto the

ring of memories. His mind drifted to his experience with, in the opinion of several of the stable boys, the wisest man in Caemlyn. He had gone to ask if there were any way to forget the past. Instead of an answer, the sage made several strange requests. One was that he was to visit often with slate and chalk. It was obvious that the sage wished to teach, though the subject was a mystery. Also, the sage requested that the youth attend the victory celebration tonight. That was one request that would have to go unfulfilled. He thought back to the day when the army had ridden into the city. He felt grand, proud and dignified. He rode just behind his knight, Sir Rand, but in his mind he imagined that the cheers were for him alone. The people cheered for the return of the men, and for

the ending of the war as well. It had been bitter and costly affair, and many of the men who had ridden from the gates of this city in the past months would never return. He looked into the faces of the people in the crowd. Those drawn and haggard faces belonged to people who had been starved and beaten and besieged. Yet he saw only their looks of appreciation and awe. To him, this was a glorious time; to them, a time of relief, of weary thanksgiving for the end to the madness. Looking back on it now, he remembered what he hadn’t noticed before; and he understood. He drifted back even further. He thought of the battles, the death, the pain that he had seen. He had witnessed the best and the worst of mankind; the honor and courage on one side, and the cruelty and the savagery on