Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 652
The unnamed man continues telling his story to his lover. He asks for her input as to the setting of the story. She chooses outer space. He comes up with a distant planet that he calls Zycron. He tells her that there is an arid plain on this planet, and in the middle of the plain is a pile of stones. Buried underneath the stones are a king and all the inhabitants of a once-flourishing city. Everyone from this city was murdered. Now every herdsman and merchant who passes by the rubble adds another stone. They do this in memory of those who perished at the site as well as to honor their own ancestors. However, the storyteller claims, there is another version of what happened to this city. The king was able to put a spell on all his subjects and whisk them away, safe from destruction. To save them, he had to shrink them. He shrunk the city also, which still exists in a small cave under the pile of stones. The people live on, small as ants, unaware that they are so tiny.
At this, the woman is roused. She says she is cold and must leave. She cannot be late. He asks her to stay longer, but she insists she does not have the time.
Then there is a brief interlude in the story in the form of a new bulletin. The date jumps to 1947. The announcement is of Richard E. Griffen’s death. Readers later discover that this is the protagonist’s husband. Griffen was forty-seven. His body was found in his sailboat, still tied at the dock. He died of an apparent heart attack. In the article, he is referred to as an industrialist, the head of a commercial empire that included the manufacture of textiles. He is survived by his sister, Winifred Prior; his wife, Iris; and his ten-year-old daughter, Aimee.
Once again, the story from Laura’s novel continues. The man and the woman are together again. The woman asks why the faraway planet in the man’s story is inhabited by people. She would expect another planet to have different types of species. He explains that in his story, the planet Earth was colonized by the Zycronites. That is why the species are similar. He then goes on to elaborate.
The name of the city is Sakiel-Norn, or The Pearl of Destiny. The city was, at one time, considered a world wonder because of its natural beauty. The aristocrats of this city were...
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