After the long journey, Harrah arrived at the gate.
"I want to see with the vision of the gods," said Harrah. The Gatekeeper smiled cruelly, tipped his wand and said:
"As you wish."
Harrah stood alone at the centre of an open field. Beyond the field lay woods. Beyond the woods lay desert. Beyond the desert lay mountains. On the ground lay a sack with climbing equipment.
"I see," cried Harrah. "The vision of the gods is at the top of the mountain! Of course!"
Slinging sack over shoulder, Harrah began to walk.
All day Harrah walked through the field. Parts were muddy. Parts were thick with scrub. Parts were full of waist-high prickers. After hours, the woods looked almost as far away as before all the walking. Looking back, Harrah could no longer tell the starting place - the field appeared to go on forever. The climbing equipment felt heavy.
Suddenly, a presence appeared to the left, materializing from an ominous grey smoke to stand, tall and formidable, towering over Harrah with a bird's face and wings the length of a large man. One of its powerful, clawed feet pawed the ground, leaving a ditch in its wake.
"You seek the vision of the gods, yet you muck about in the fields?" it sneered.
"What else am I to do? I don't have wings like you," sulked Harrah.
"No, but you have eyes to see!" The creature suddenly darted down, pecking Harrah once in each eye. The pain felt unbearable, searing and burning, but when Harrah's eyes opened, the world looked different. Colours seemed deeper, edges softer. Suddenly the woods seemed only feet away.
"Ah, not so fast," breathed the creature. "There is a price. To have eyes means seeing what you choose to ignore."
Harrah was hardly listening, excited to get to the next leg of the journey. The creature flapped its wings impatiently. They were so large, Harrah was blown off-balance. The creature suddenly flung its wings open, revealing blinding light shining mirrors as it caught Harrah in its embrace.
"First, see yourself!" it cried, a triumphant caw. The wings surrounded Harrah on all sides, a universe of mirrors. At every turn, from every angle at once, Harrah saw an ugly, small creature, wrinkled and vulnerable, pitiable and pitiful. Harrah felt ashamed.
"This is you, the one who seeks the vision of the gods?" asked the creature, incredulous but suddenly, also, almost kind. "What are you? You are too small to cross the woods. You are too weak to climb the mountain. You are too simple to understand even the vision you've been gifted. Go home."
And the creature disappeared.
"How?" cried Harrah. "How can I go home?" for the field stretched behind, and the woods loomed ahead. Harrah might have liked nothing better than to give up the quest for the vision of the gods, but there seemed no way out. So Harrah picked up the pack, and entered the woods.