“Higher,” cried Ahmed, “I must see!”
And Gonn-Ben-Allah spun higher to see the man and his son with golden wings leap, thrust, fly off the cliff, with the son mounting higher and higher as the old man, alarmed, tried to shout him down. But the noon sun fired his wings to melt the wax to golden tears which dripped from wrist, elbow, and arm. And he fell like a stone from the sky.
“Catch him!” Ahmed exclaimed.
“You are a god who can do anything.”
“And he is a mortal who must try everything.”
And the flier with golden wings struck the sea and sank in bright rings, and the sea was silent as the sun died and the moon returned.
“How terrible!” Ahmed exclaimed.
“Oh, how brave,” said Gonn.
They circled to see the father hover to mourn above the quiet surf.
“Did,” said Ahmed, “all this truly happen? It must be so.”
“Then it is so.”
“Though his wings melted and he fell?”
“Even so. There is never failure in trying. Not to try is the greater death.”
“But what does it mean?”
“It means,” said Gonn-Ben-Allah, “that you must toss feathers in the wind and guess their directions to all points of the heart’s compass. It means you must jump off cliffs and build your wings on the way down!”
“And fall? And never fear?”
“Fear, yes, but brave beyond fear.”
“That is a big thing for a boy.”