Chapter 3


After much tending, day in and day out, the Purple One grew from a young adult to a fully grown one. The human took pride in the Peridot’s increasing sense of responsibility. It could live on its own, and in the chance that it would, the human despaired. One evening, he shed a tear alone by the campfire, for saying goodbye was too hard to bear, even if imagined.

Kee sired offspring, and other humans in the campsite saw it fit to care for them. Glee and whimsy spread across the forest, and a community of Peridots grew in large numbers. Humans had no choice but to expand the boundaries in which they resided. More trees and rivers and plants and birds offered human and Peridot alike more freedom to roam, more beauty to enjoy.

But Kee did not enjoy this new beauty as much as the others did. And while it appreciated the freedom to roam, it was somehow unhappy.

Now, what you are about to read is a tale told to me by ancestors of the Purple One. It is a legend within Peridot history, and since legends are both truthful and lofty, you are free to interpret it as you will.

One day, as Kee and its human friend were foraging for blue tomatoes, Kee stopped and downturned its head. Its brow was sunken and it did not, at first, respond when the human called out to it. “What’s wrong, Kee?” asked the human, not so much with words but with a frown, of sympathy and concern.

If the Peridot could express itself through its eyes alone, the human imagined it like so:

“My friend, my dearest friend. I thank you for being by my side, for helping me through my first steps into this world. I learned to forage, to keep warm, to keep company, and to parent my own kin. For these things and more, I am grateful. But it is time for me to leave you – not for dislike, not for distrust, but it is this animal pull within my species, this instinct, that I surrender to. I, and soon every Peridot that reaches adulthood, must leave its human friends to a new habitat, now and forever. I share this tearfully, my good friend. I share this as I say goodbye. I hope you understand.”

The human did not, but there was much the human did not understand. He gave his purple friend one last belly rub and opened his arms for a hug. Kee obliged, and the two embraced one last time and stared woefully downward. When the Purple One felt the human’s arms slacken, it moved aside and faced the unknown corridors of the woods. With a deep breath, it moved forth.

The human watched on to make sure his friend would not fall, for if it did, he would help it up. He watched on to protect it from fallen branches, for if one landed on Kee’s head, the human would be there to remove it. He watched on to amuse the Purple One one last time, in case it needed a belly rub. Alas, it did not.

Its purple tail, once a vibrant pillar amidst the green mesh of brush and grass, became smaller and smaller the further the Peridot marched forward. And when the sunlight started to recede to make room for the evening, the Purple One could no longer be seen.

The human heard rustling behind him. He turned to find Kee’s newest offspring – a playful soul with white and orange fuzzy skin – foraging for blue tomatoes, exactly how it was taught to do. The human, whose eyes were moist from a sudden farewell, walked toward it with a renewed sense of duty. For today and the next, he was ready to start a new life with others.

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