The foal peered out at the sea, the forbidding sea, and he wondered. He wondered at what his mother had just told him.
“It can’t be true,” he said, swishing his tail. He was still new to the world, but already he had a favorite thing to do, and it was swishing his tail.
“Why not?” his mother asked. She had warned him not to get too close to the waves. But she need not have. He wasn’t going anywhere near that roaring, reaching, grasping beast that she called “the sea.”
On a bright spring day, a group of young academicians gathered at the banks of the river to challenge each other’s skills and provide a spectacle to whomever had the patience and the interest to stand by and watch. The day before, it was the naturalists who were testing themselves. But on that day, the architects had gathered, and their challenge was to build a tower of stones and pebbles, gathered from the banks or within the river itself, for it flowed softly where they had chosen to hold their contest.