–Are you sure this is what you really want?
–It’s not, but I still have to go.
–You should take it with you then. It was yours to begin with. It would only be fair for you to keep it.
–You know I can’t, not without hurting you.
–I don’t care.
–Perhaps you don’t, but I do.
The man appeared slightly surprised by the fox’s last answer.
–You’d do that for me?
–Yes, but not only for you… I also need to do it for me. I’m becoming domesticated. That’s never a good thing for a fox.
–I think I understand how you feel. I sometimes stare at the mountains and feel a strange longing for the wild.
–That’s the reason I have to leave. The magic pearl has bonded us. I’m becoming too much like you, and you’re becoming too much like me.
–I don’t see how can be a bad thing between friends.
–I don’t want you to lose your humanity, that’s why you should keep the pearl and let me go.
–And I don’t want you to lose your magic, that’s why I refuse to keep it.
–You will age and die without it.
–So will you.
They stared in silence at the golden pearl on the table between them, their neglected cups of cocoa slowly getting cold in the late autumn night.
A sweet melodic clink suddenly brought them back from their thoughts. On the table now stood not one, but two perfect golden pearls.