“Come with me,” said the wizard. “Come with me, on stranger paths than any known, through fires and damp and darkest nights, through long days of toil and longer nights of despair, come with me to knowledge, to power, to the wellspring of the universe, shake the steady world, come with me.”
“Come with me,” said the man. “Come with me, in marriage, take hymenal vows, wave the bright torch before the connubial door, sweat and strain in mingled joy through long years, build a hearth, a home, a family, know the touch of your child, your child’s child, know love, come with me.”
The woman looked at them, looked long between them, saw Power, saw Family, saw Home, saw Adventure, saw an old, poxy man, saw a raw, dull youth, looked at them, looked inward. “Neither you nor you has my heart,” she said, “and I would have none of yours. Keep your power, keep your love, I want a different world. I choose myself.” She stood and walked away, feet already dusty, belly lean and growling. She disappeared along the road.
“Fool!” said the wizard, melancholy, angry.
“Darling!” said the young man, in the same resentful, reproachful tone.