What is the white heron's secret in the short story "A White Heron"?

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The white heron's secret is the location of its nest, which the young hunter has been unable to locate for himself. He asks for Sylvia's help, and she stays awake all night thinking of how to learn the location of the heron's nest so that she can tell the hunter,...

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The white heron's secret is the location of its nest, which the young hunter has been unable to locate for himself. He asks for Sylvia's help, and she stays awake all night thinking of how to learn the location of the heron's nest so that she can tell the hunter, a young man, earning herself ten dollars as well as his gratitude. The narrator describes her excitement, saying,

What fancied triumph and delight and glory for the later morning when she could make known the secret! It was almost too real and too great for the childish heart to bear.

Sylvia is breathless with enthusiasm to find out the nest's location so that she can share it. The next morning, she climbs a very old and tall tree, as she knows that she ought to be able to see everything from there, and, sure enough, she spots the heron and its nest. The narrator says,

She knows his secret now, the wild, light, slender bird that floats and wavers, and goes back like an arrow presently to his home in the green world beneath.

However, when it comes time to tell the hunter what she has seen, Sylvia "cannot tell the heron's secret and give its life away." She thinks of how she and the heron flew through the golden air and how the pair of them watched the world together. Sylvia loves nature and the bird's life more than she does the ten dollars or the hunter's gratitude.

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The white heron's secret is where his nest is hidden.  The young man, who is an ornithologist, would like to shoot him and add his graceful figure to his collection.  When Sylvia first discovered the white heron's resting place in the marsh, she had planned on telling the young man where the heron's nest lay, but when he pressed her for an answer, all she could remember was "how the white heron came flying through the golden air and how they watched the sea and the morning together."  In the moment of truth, Sylvia finds that she cannot speak at all, despite her admiration for her new friend or her grandmother's pleading to help them make ten dollars; she cannot "tell the heron's secret and trade his life away."

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