There is a question asked from time to time…

Some time ago now the cat was walking along the edge of a river, occasionally passing over stones and clumps of sticks… sometimes looking to the twinkle of the moon as it reflected off the rippling water. After some time she came across a sleeping man beside the river, now, being one for adventure, the cat padded up to the man and gave a slight cough to wake him.

“Ahem… Good evening dear sir.” she said, “What a fine night we have

The cat awoke with a start; she was being called by Tsuru.

“…Hmm… What is it boy?” she asked, “… Is everything ok?”

The crane looked at her for some time, and Bastet noticed his eyes were more grey than blue.

“…Boy?” she asked again.

“… I had the strangest dream cat, the strangest dream,” he said finally.

The cat lent forward and gave him a kiss.
“We all have strange dreams dear boy,” she said. “Why only just now I dreamt I was…”

Tsuru looked at her and he began to cry a little.

“Oh boy!” cried the cat, jumping up. “What is it? Tell me…”

“I dreamt…” began the crane, “That I was an old, old man who had lived his life but had lost his way in the world. I had tended to the land for all my years but had missed love.”

“Oh that is sad!” said the cat, and nuzzled into Tsuru’s feathers.

The crane moved back a little and lifted Bastet’s face.
“That isn’t it though,” he said as he looked at her. “There is more,”

“I was this old man and I had missed love as I said, so I travelled to the great river and sat beside it to consider my life, to review my time. As I sat and looked into the waters I suddenly saw all the stars and all the moons and all the galaxies there flowing within the river and I knew that this was the love I had missed, that the stars and I were the same. And, as I looked, I saw my face looking back at me but I wasn’t looking into the water, I was looking out from the river at my face.”

Bastet sat and stared at the boy as he spoke. And the boy, giving glances up at Bastet, continued:
“You see cat, I was the stars – The stars reflected in the water and through the reflection of the river I could see the face of the old man who I had been but who I wasn’t. I loved this man cat and I realised that this was all I ever was, the love for this man and his life and his love for his world. And I felt sad for him, because he felt he had missed love, because he had been alone with his land for so long, but really he was loved all the time and he gave love as he helped everything grow around him.”

The crane moved in towards the cat and looked her in the eyes before saying:
“The thing is this though cat… As I looked back and up at the man I saw an old woman walk up to him, and I thought how lovely she looked, how kindly and how much like the beauty of the galaxies with her hair and eyes. And I thought I should love this person as much as I love this man. I thought I should imagine he would love her dearly himself, and as I thought that, the woman spoke to the man and all of a sudden I was the man again and no longer the stars, and I opened my eyes which I didn’t even realise were closed and I breathed a breath which I didn’t even realise had stopped and I spoke to the woman in a voice I had all but forgotten was mine… And then I woke up!”

The crane looked at the cat, who had suddenly begun to cry a little…

“Oh cat what is it! Have I upset you?” he asked, drawing her in close to him.

She told him about her dream, and about how she hadn’t even realised she was dreaming until he had woken her up…

“What does this mean?” he asked her, “What are we to make of all this?”

“I’m not sure!” replied the cat, “Does this mean that we are those old people… But what are we to make of us now? Is this a dream here that we are having? A life within a dream?”

Tsuru looked blankly for a while and then shook his head
“I don’t feel that I am that old man.” he said, “But I didn’t feel that I was really him anyway. I think cat…” he continued, “That if I am anything I should like to be the love I felt for him, but it was a faded thing, like forgetting a dream… only, maybe more like forgetting you are dreaming. Bah, now I am confused!”

The cat sat up and looked thoughtfully at Tsuru.

“I think also…” she said, “That if I were to forget that I ever was myself and become someone else that I should like to remember love amongst all things, I should never like to forget that!”

They spoke of this for some time, each one thinking but then becoming lost in their own reasoning until, tired at last, they both fell asleep again, curled in each others arms.
As they slept, the moon smiled down on them as it always does and the stars whispered softly:
‘We love you old man… We love you old woman… Hurry home again soon.’