. the stars
Hecate, Mother of Night, owned an orchard that bore stars. Nightly, an artist climbed a ladder and collected a basketful from the gnarled branches of the trees. Hecate always said, "Neither too much nor too little; neither too quick nor too slow."
Before the artist mixed stars into her paints, her art was unwanted. Now, stars always ran out before she could finish her paintings.
When the artist brought five baskets one night, Hecate warned of immoderation. The painter picked every star anyway. As she descended, a star fell out. Reaching for it, she tipped the baskets so every star fell. This is why stars now lie scattered across the heavens.
Without stars, the painter became impoverished. She too, became a fallen star.
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