There once was a boy who sang. He never spoke, but sang at the top of
his lungs; belting or belching or soaring ditties; rythmic, lyrical,
bawdy; songs of all sorts, rhymes of all kinds. He sang for nothing, not
even himself, and no one. When he dreamed, he sang, and so did everyone
else. His life was an endless ball of music and it hummed, for the sake
of nothing and everything; all the beauty in the world.
One day, God came down to speak to the singing boy.
"You know", he said, "You've quite the voice. You don't always use it
right, by my way of thinking, and i haven't always liked your songs, but
your heart is in it; that's clear enough. How would you like to join my
choir? You'd never have to stop singing, even for a drink of water to
clear your throat. And you'll always sing the best of everything- from
the best, most ribald burlesque to the most glorious and bewitching hymn
that ever lifted a heart or raised a spirit to bask in the light of
heaven. So what do you sing?" The fellow smiled, and shook his head. God
"I'd a feeling you'd do something of the sort," he sighed, "But the
offer stands. I've a reason for wanting you, even if you've none for
singing for me, if it makes a difference." The boy cocked his head and
"The day I sing for someone's reason,
Snow will fall in summer season,
I'll be damned and I'll be dead,
As I've sung and never said."
God cocked his head the other way and smiled back.
"All that can be arranged, you know." The fellow raised both eyebrows,
startled, and smiled broader.
"You want me that badly?" he hummed, as he did not feel like rhyming
at this moment. God shrugged.
"One of my Angels stopped singing. His choir partner fell, you see. We
need a replacement. He can't go on like this."
The boy was moved in spite of himself. He imagined that it must be
terrible, to halve and have to stop singing. So he agreed to meet the
But no matter how god coaxed and pleaded, the angel would hear none of
it. And when, brimming with tender feeling and sympathy, the boy sang
to him, the angel clasped his hands over his ears and cried, wailing
tuneless pain to the sky and stars. So the boy put his hand on the Angel's
shoulder and said, completely prosaiac,
"What can I do to help you?"
The angel stopped crying and looked him dead in the eye.
"You know," he said, "You've got a lovely speaking voice."
So the boy and the angel left Heaven and bought themselves a little
house overlooking the Seine. There they wrote- books, stories, articles,
speaches, prose poems, plays. And they gave and spoke and performed
these in the streets and alleys, theatres, cafes and living rooms.
Occasionally, and wordlessly, or behind oration, they would strum a harp, or a
guitar, or hum upon the flute or the kazoo. They would tell tall tales
in the firelight in their parlor and make each other laugh late into
the night, but niether of them, ever, really sang again.