He had come from this place, but it had changed so much that he hardly recognized it. The pond had disappeared, hidden, he thought, under the untamed, choking growth of lilies. It was beautiful, he had to admit, but he could smell the rank odor of rotting vegetation and stagnant water. Those who had taken him, and taken over this place, had sadly neglected the grounds.
He remembered the day they had come, when a giant hand holding a huge, clear jar, had scooped him and several smaller creatures up. They had been trapped in a shallow puddle of water in the bottom of the jar. Briefly, he had seen his home as he was lifted high, then it all disappeared as the jar was pushed into something that closed over it, and he was left in darkness.
For a very long time, he had lived in a clear glass cage. He had water, and sand, and greenery, and food, but he was alone. He could see many other cages, some of wire, holding animals, and some of glass, like his own. But there was no communication with them, even if there had been another of his kind there, but he seemed to be the only one. He grew to adulthood, alone and lonely, wishing for death to release him.
Then, just a day ago, something was inserted into his cage, and he went to sleep. He had just wakened now, and was squatting there, wondering what had happened, and why he once again was free. He stiffened, as he felt a shaking in the ground under him, and heard a distant rumbling.
The shaking and rumbling grew nearer, and he remembered the sound of his captors. The giants were coming again! He shrank back into the growth, hoping it would hide him. He couldn’t stand to go back into that captivity! He would rather die than go back to live like that again. Two of the giants appeared, and stopped at the edge of the pond.
He watched as they stood there, one waving huge hands, pointing here and there, while the other nodded and did some pointing of his own. Soon the larger one turned and walked away, and the one left started working. He laid out the sticks he was carrying where he could reach them as he worked. First, he took a long stick with a toothed head, lowered it in the edge of the pond, and dragged it along. When he lifted it out, it brought up a large glob of dead vegetation, and a bit of water glimmered in the light.
The giant kept working, drawing up glob after glob of dead stuff from all around the pond, and using a net to gather stray bits. He cut away many of the lilies, the ones that were obviously dying or dead, in great lumps of brown petals and leaves, followed by the roots. Slowly the pond was cleared, and the watcher could see a slight movement as the water began flowing again. It seemed both the inlet and outlet had been blocked, but now fresh water was replacing the stagnant, and the pond was being restored to its original beauty.
Finally, the giant stopped working, and stood watching the water’s movement.
After a while, he gave a satisfied nod, gathered his tools, and walked away, whistling. The watcher waited for a long time, but nothing else moved. The sun was setting, the birds singing their evening songs, and the air smelled clean and fresh. At last, he moved forward, to the edge of the pond, and paused for a moment, happy to be home once more. At last he hopped into the water, with a joyful ‘rivet, rivet’, and disappeared under a lily leaf.