The moss grew on the diamond and soon small fish began to come nibble at it. Some days it seemed that the diamond could hardly gather moss around itself quickly enough to replace what was eaten away each day. Every day was filled with anxiety.
One day, while the little fish were nibbling away at the diamond’s mossy covering, a much larger fish came along. He dove in to take one of the little fish for a snack and swallowed the diamond in the process. The diamond again began to panic. “I don’t belong in a big fish! How will ever get out? At least before, I could spend my days in one comfortable spot. Who knows where this big fish will carry me off to?”
In desperation, the diamond began trying to get back out the way it had come in. Soon, it was lodged in the large fish’s throat, causing the fish great discomfort. As the fish thrashed about trying to dislodge the lump in its throat, it became unmindful and swam too near the surface. An eagle circling high above swooped down and grabbed hold of the fish, carrying it back to its high perch in a tree.
The diamond, who had been hoping only to be regurgitated back near where it had been taken from, sensed itself being lifted higher and higher. “Oh no! I knew that being eaten by a big fish was a disaster. Who knows where I am being carried off to. If only that crow hadn’t knocked me off course, none of this would have happened.”
Sitting atop a large tree, the eagle began to eat the fish he had caught. This time, as the diamond went down the eagle’s gullet, it didn’t take the risk of trying to escape again and simply sat quietly. “The worst has happened. I cannot resist it. This is my new home,” he thought to himself.
Several days later, the diamond was startled to realize that it was moving back up the eagle’s throat. Could it be possible that deliverance had finally arrived? Much to the diamond’s disappointment, it felt itself drop, down, down, down and land with a hard thump. But it was not escape. Instead the diamond found itself embedded within the pellet of indigestible bones, scales and odds and ends of the eagle’s diet. The diamond no longer had to worry about being eaten. But it would never be found hidden as it was. That was some small comfort.
Time passed and bits of the material surrounding the diamond washed away when the rains fell. As the days and years passed, dirt gradually covered over the diamond and hardened. Grasses grew up over it, died and grew again. The diamond sat quietly and hopelessly, wishing it could simply pass out of existence.
In the darkness, the diamond thought about the crow, the fish and the eagle. How each one had taken it far from where it was meant to be. Where the diamond was meant to be was a mystery, but it knew it must have been meant to be somewhere. Sometimes the diamond would wonder why it had been dropped from the sky to begin with. It seemed a rather careless thing to do – to drop a precious gem from the sky like that. But in time, the diamond began to forget even that small truth – that under all of the dirt and animal waste and rotting moss, was a diamond. Perhaps it hadn’t simply been dropped, but was tossed out. After all, who would want a lump of dirt and filth such as our diamond was?
One day a man came to where the diamond lay and began to dig. As he dug, he would stop and examine the rocks and lumps dirt he found. Finally, after staring long and hard at one particularly misshapen lump, he stood up, put it in his pocket and strode off again. To anyone watching the man work, the dirt clod he pocketed didn’t look any different than all the others he had tossed away. But this man was observing not just with his eyes, but with his heart. And his heart had felt a pull as he held the lump which held our poor, lost diamond within it.
The man traveled back to his home and set to work on his unassuming lump of dirt, gently washing, brushing and scraping away the dirt and rot. The fearful diamond hiding within was awoken from its hopeless stupor and was once again in a panic. It had lived so long within its filthy clump that it felt a sharp pain as each bit of dirt, each rotted bone fragment, each grain of sand or desiccated grass which was removed. “I’m being killed,” cried the diamond to itself. For as much as it had loathed the ugly, filthy lump that it thought itself to be, each bit of dirt and grime had offered some protection and comfort to our suffering diamond. The diamond did its best to cling tightly to the grime it was buried under. It hardened the dirt and pulled the rot closer to protect itself.
The man working to remove the filth surrounding the diamond could feel it resisting. Sometimes his back would ache from bending over his work for so long. His knuckles would be scraped raw with the effort. Wishing to re-assure the diamond, he would sing soft songs to it. He told the diamond that it was safe. That his intentions were good. That he loved it even now when it was nothing more than a misshapen lump. That he would not quit or abandon it. That he knew its beauty.
As the layers were removed, the diamond could hear the man’s songs clearer and closer. The diamond began to relax. It began to hope for practically the first time since it was first falling from the sky so long ago. Finally the man reach the last layers of rot which surrounded our diamond – the ones that clung most tenaciously to its surface. As gently as the man tried to work, the scraping and scrubbing it took to remove these last bits of dirt from the surface hurt the diamond. But it was a pain the diamond could endure as at last it knew it was where it was meant to be.
Tomorrow – Part 2