Amaru of course grew older as the years went by, and one of the things he learned was that no matter how old you are, there is always someone older and wiser than you. He encountered such a person one chilly day when a brisk wind was blowing white clouds across the sky.
Amaru, having no wife, was on his way to the well for his water when he saw, standing next to the path, a beautiful woman. Her sari gleamed with gold against a green background. Her ankles sang with tiny golden bells. She said, “Amaru, I have been waiting for you!”
Amaru, however, remembered the Pillar of Stones and was not to be fooled a second time. So he averted his eyes, hunched his shoulders, and kept walking.
But she followed. He could hear her sandals shuffling behind him, a silken sound in the red-brown dust.
“O Amaru,” she said to his stubborn back, “I would speak with you about windows.”
He stopped. Windows?
She went on. “A window in your house reveals the sun, the trees, the birds, all of the outside world, which you can observe in safety from within your room. But sometimes there are other windows that open, to other worlds. When that happens, the heart ceases to flutter, the mind ceases its darting to and fro, and the soul sits firm and silent within.”
Amaru turned and found himself looking into the woman’s old, old eyes. He was a little surprised; she had seemed so young before. Then she began to dance, slowly, with a rhythmic chiming of ankle bells and finger-cymbals. But her eyes did not move.
Suddenly Amaru felt a slight shift in the universe. He was aware of brilliant, throbbing colour everywhere. He sensed that the leaves of the trees and the grasses under his feet were reaching out to each other and to the sky, with the strength of coiled springs. The rocks seemed to pulsate with a slow, majestic rhythm. Amaru could hear a low, intense humming that seemed to surround him completely. He forgot to breathe; he forgot everything . . .
Then Amaru seemed to feel another shift, a sort of subliminal movement in the air around him. He turned his eyes back to the Dancing Woman. But she was no longer there. Where she had stood was a small pile of stones.
After a stunned moment, Amaru stooped and reverently gathered up the stones and carried them back to his house in his water bucket.