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She walked to the well that stood in her yard. It had a certain sound to it, a sound that forever ran through her mind when she stepped near it. As she placed her ear onto its rocky surface, the well sang to her. She would hear the murmurs of the river, the fish that swam in the water below and sensed the movement of the rocks beneath the sand. However, she always wondered what else was beneath it, for hearing was not enough. She yearned to be with it, as though it were a part of her she had yet to acknowledge. She remembered her mother's voice echoing through the wind each time she stepped too near.

“Move away from the well!” she would yell. “Don’t fall in!”

 But the girl wanted more. She wanted to see the world beneath, away from the heat of the sun and the cold of the wind, away from the absence of life that resided within her. Thus, one day, she left the house with a shovel and supplies she had found and hurried towards the well. She began to dig towards the majestic sounds that sang within it as her father yelled from across the field.

“What are you digging down there?!” he questioned. 

“Father!” she replied in excitement. “I am looking for treasure! I want what the well possesses!”

“Treasure, you say?!” he exclaimed. “Let me join you!”

As the day went on, people aimlessly walked towards them, looking to see what was to be found. One by one, they joined in the search and dug the well. The sun began to set, and day became night. The moon shone above the girl as she heard a soft voice echo, "Why do you want what is not yours?"

"Excuse me? Who are you?" the girl said as she whipped her palm across her face, collecting the sweat that covered her eyes. 

"I am the moon and within the well is life, and you took them with no regard. You should be keeping it safe, keeping it alive. For that is all there is left," the moon said.

"Why should I listen to you? The well is in my property and thus, what is here is therefore mine!" she asserted. 

"You own nothing, for the Earth owns the land just as it owns you. You take from what owns you, you become nothing. For without the Earth, you are none!"

The girl, bewildered, hurried to the house and slammed the door shut. She went to every window and shut the blinds. 

By the seventh day, the people and the girl had extracted the majority of all they wanted from the well. Their dreams had come true and they felt fulfilled. The girl approached the well as always did, went on her knees, and placed her small ears against the well's skin. She was interrupted by a deep voice that spoke in fury. His voice came from above and he spoke in parts.

"Am I bothering you?" he asked solemnly.

"Who are you?" she whispered.

"I am the sun from above," he replied with a pause. "What does the well mean to you?"

"The well brings me tranquility," she said. "It's been here since my early years. I love it dearly."

The sun fell silent for a moment before responding, "That is not true. If you loved it, you would not hurt it as you have done."

The girl looked up to the sky. Shocked by the sun she said, "I have done no such thing to the well! I have done nothing to no one!"

"No!" the sun yelled. "You stole all life that lived in the well. You destroyed it. You used my sister's resources and skinned her till she became nothing but. She is naked as you walk above her, and you don't even think to look below."

"I am not a destroyer, I am not anything that you say I am! Who is this sister you speak of?" she said, taken aback.

"My dear sister made you and all you have! She is the Earth you reside on, spit on, and weaken with your every movement! You have given no thought to your actions, driven by your ignorance and greed."

The young girl abruptly rose from her knees and looked down the well, perplexed. The sun was correct, the girl saw no sight of the water that once flowed in it; the music no longer echoed and the fishes no longer swam. All that remained was the sand and silence.

Horrified, the girl pleaded, "Why do you not speak to me, well? Why do you no longer sing?!"

"The music you heard never came from the well!" the sun said in defense. "No object made from man can possess such beauty! The Earth is what you heard, my sister's laugh and voice echoed through the lives of those who lived within the well. The animals and rocks, all of them in unity. But now that you destroyed it there is no music left to be heard."

"I did not destroy it! I was put on this Earth to make something out of myself and what I needed was in that well! I only did what had to be done!" she justified.


"You wanted what was in there, you never needed a thing! One does not thrive by destroying the Earth they depend on! You are not worthy of what is within the Earth nor the well. You are not worthy of the land you lay on, and you are not worthy of anything more," the sun proclaimed.

The girl exclaimed, "Who are you to tell me what my worth is?"

"I am the voice of all there is left! I am the only thing humans still cannot touch. I am the voice of the sun, moon, and sea that yells your name in vain. I voice the animals who you never shall understand and the ones who left long ago. I am the voice of my family as a whole. We still help you while you destroy us. If anyone can say you are not worthy, it is us."

"How… how do I fix what has been done?" she quivered as she collapsed to her knees as water poured from her eyes down to her chin.

The sun did not respond. She buried her face in her palms as the wind brushed against her skin and whispered, "There is nothing to do, for you have taken all, and once all is taken, you will be too."

"It cannot be true, return to me sound of the well, return to me!" She fell to her knees and pressed the side of her head against its skin, trying to hear the songs that once were. But the well remained silent. The music of the Earth never returned.

"The Well and its Song" was selected as the winner of the High School+ Division in the 2023 Nature's Story Contest.


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