“As he approached the outermost fields he moved cautiously, skulking from tussock to copse, and presently found that which he sought: a peasant turning the dank soil with a mattock. Cugel crept quietly forward, struck down the loon with a gnarled root.”
Such was Mazirian's garden--three terraces growing with strange and wonderful vegetations. Certain plants swam with changing iridescences; others held up blooms pulsing like sea-anemones, purple, green, lilac, pink, yellow. Here grew trees like feather parasols, trees with transparent trunks threaded with red and yellow veins, trees with foliage like metal foil, each leaf a different metal--copper, silver, blue tantalum, bronze, green iridium. Here blooms like bubbles tugged gently upward from glazed green leaves, there a shrub bore a thousand pipe-shaped blossoms, each whistling softly to make music of the ancient Earth, of the ruby-red sunlight, water seeping through black soil, the languid winds.
Navarth sat drinking wine with an aged acquaintance who bemoaned the brevity of existence. "I have left to me at the most ten years of life!"
"That is sheer pessimism," declared Navarth. "Think optimistically, rather, of the ten hundred billion years of death that await you!"
--Jack Vance, The Book of Dreams
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