Written for a prompt from Sarah.
Once upon a time, in the Land of Squares, there lived a little girl.
She was happy sometimes and sad sometimes, she was good sometimes and bad sometimes, she laughed sometimes and cried sometimes and all of these sometimes could (and would) happen within the same day, indeed occasionally all within the same hour. She was, as you see, very much like all little girls in every land. In fact, the only way she was any different from you, gentle reader, is that she was a square, having been born, after all, in the Land of Squares, so this fact did not serve to make her special in her own country.
But in one thing she was peculiar.
There was a high stone wall around the Land of Squares- a beautiful wall, growing moss and ivy and succulents. This wall was a permanent fixture in their world, they did not question it; it was like the sky and ground to them. The philosophers and churchmen and poets could make much of it, but as the old Square said: it did not change what showed up on the dinner table.
This wall was solid, except for a small round hole on the east side. Around this hole, was built a series of houses, and here the squares would send their sick or grieved for a season, as the air in this place seemed to be especially good and it was said that looking through the hole, would do you good- more than any medicines or tinctures- and give you comfort- more than any food or wealth or worldly cheer- but the duties of the Land of Squares would prevent any one from lingering there too long.
Except for our little square girl. Her home was wonderfully situated just a few miles from the hole in the east wall and she was wonderfully fast. Indeed she grew ever faster, for always she raced against her day’s duties to the wall, to peak through the hole into the garden- for that’s what it looked into. Not only a garden, the little girl knew, for she could swear she caught the scent of salt air through the opening and one evening she heard a whippoorwill inside, so she knew there was a sea and a forest there too. The garden was ten thousand times more beautiful than anything she had ever seen in the land of squares- which was not an unlovely place. No, the Land of Squares could be very nice when there were diligent gardeners and skilled craftsmen and learned architects and gifted artists all working together.
But the land on the other side of the wall…. it was so different. How can we say it? It was truly alive and healthy. It was glorious in every way, thoroughly and forever. Nothing could the little girl see that was not perfection.
And so it happened, that in her faithful loyalty to the other world and her continuos desire to go there, the little girl slowly became different, for the cares of life never kept her from sighing into the pillow each night: “Lord, let me go there.”, and the joys of life never kept her from singing on festal days, “Lord, let me go there!”.
Although she hardly knew it (sometimes she dared to hope it!) the little girl was loved by the great Lord of every land, who lived in the world behind the wall.
And so, because of this, something terrible happened.
‘An accident’ the squares called it. ‘A dreadful nightmare’ is how they remembered it. Our little girl stumbled one day and fell. She fell down a sharp cliff and over a waterfall, she was carried down a river, tossed into the rapids, beat upon the rocks and washed up on a dirty shore. The wind blew on her and the rain fell. She was lost for seven days and nights. When they found her, she was grotesquely changed. They carried her home and tried to bind and fix her, but as the weeks passed they realized there was no healing in the Land of Squares deeper than her hurt.
The little girl’s mother was appointed to tell her the news. She sat down on the bed beside her sore and swollen daughter. It broke her mother’s heart to see the little girl like this; she had been a beautiful baby- such clear lines and a sharp chin. “My little precious girl,” she said, “I must tell you… you are no longer square. The damage done in the fall beat away your corners. You are (sniff,sniff)… A circle.”
The little girl opened her black eyes (they were green eyes, with black bruises). “A circle?”, she asked. “About how big would you say?”
Her mother made a round shape with her arms, to show her daughter.
The little girl sat up and grinned.
“I’d say that was just a little smaller than the hole in the east wall, wouldn’t you?!”