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|Douglas is a shy, ugly urisk who wants nothing more in the world than to have friends - one thing it seems he is doomed never to have.||
But you weren't there. Nobody was there. Nobody but Douglas, who sat, isolated as always, just below the low seacliff on his favorite mossy stone. At first, you might have thought he was a satyr -- after all, the feet that strayed into the seaweed-choked waters were cloven hooves, and his lonely song came from a handmade reed flute. But Douglas wasn't a satyr. He was an urisk, condemned by fate to be forever wanting companionship.
The problem with being an urisk, Douglas had decided, was that the resemblance to a goat did not end at the waist. His arms were thin and long, nearly as long as his legs. His face was elongated and his upper lip split. Wiry hairs grew from his chin, as busy as his wild eyebrows, and his ears were large and pointed. He did not have horns, though -- the top of his head was completely bare.
He was a bit on the shy side, speaking in a quiet stammer. He did express himself eloquently through his flute. Only his songs were always sad, and there was never anyone to hear them but himself.
He had tried to make friends. The beautiful but careless fairies, unmindful of the quiet creature's tender feelings, wanted nothing to do with him because he was so ugly.
Douglas fared no better when approaching the rare human who happened upon his shore -- without exception, they all fled screaming at his frightening countenance. So he'd given up trying to make friends with humans, being a polite sort who had no wish to scare anyone. Still, when they came about, he watched them from his hiding places.
This day he'd overheard human travelers talking about a birthday party they'd gone to. It sounded like so much fun, the music and dancing and laughing and presents and food and games and friends.
Douglas did not have a birthday. Like the fairies, he had simply sprung into existence. Still, he knew the fairies had parties every time they could think of an excuse.
Not for the first time, Douglas wished he were human. He wondered how many birthdays he would have had by now. How many opportunities he would have had to spend a day with friends. He closed his eyes, trying to stop the tears, and wept through his song.
|The Gnomes and the Dragon||Someone Else's Mail|
|Salisbury Plain||The Red Egg|
|Under the Violet Sky|