When, in past aeons, the gods helped and inspired the newly-born humanity, one of the younger gods — he of the smile that was almost too human — looked down from his garden of meditation and was aware of a growing heaviness in his heart. And the heaviness was sadness, for he saw with pity that men were unhappy creatures, bewildered and lost among their self-made sorrows in a world made fair by the gods. And the young god thought profoundly for an eternity, and out of that thought created a gift for mankind: and the gift was the Golden Moment. How shall I describe that Golden Moment? It was like the dawn sweeping through the chambers of the night, but more swift, more sudden, lasting but a heart-beat and then fading, quicker than thought. Had it been otherwise men might have known things too holy for their mortal perception. And the marvelous power of the Golden Moment lay in its ability to raise men one step nearer to the gods.
The young god sacrificed the joys of meditation for the sake of observing the effect of his gift on mankind. And he watched the destiny of one who was no worse and no better than most men. The Man lived through the days, intent on his desires — as all men are wont to do, except those who have learned to look higher and love more widely.
He followed a path leading to the future, the unknown; and the god watched him in silence. Suddenly, from some hidden recess, there came a cry of anguish and helplessness. He looked uncertainly in the direction from which the sound had come and saw a morass, dark and loathsome, with green treachery covering its surface, and knew that the cry had come from the other side. Irresolute he stood, not knowing what to do, and then the Golden Moment pierced the heavy skies and poured radiance over him, suffusing heaven and earth. The god waited, breathless, and then the Man lowered his head in shame and walked on quickly, unwilling to face hidden danger, and the Golden Moment, like a bird of flame, took wing and returned to its home-sphere, unacknowledged.
The Man continued to follow the pathway of his destiny, and an Enemy came towards him, holding aloft a weapon. A combat ensued, and the Man overcame his Enemy and stood above him, his weapon raised to strike the other who lay helpless upon the ground.
"Spare me," said his Enemy. "My life is life to many around my hearth."
And the Golden Moment rent the night-blackness and illumined the earth, with stars and music in its trail - — but the music was not for mortal ears and only the gods heard it.
"Why should I spare you?" said the Man. "Are you not my enemy?"
And he brought down his weapon and killed his foe. And the Golden Moment faded, gathering its glory about it and stilling its music.
Then said the young god sorrowfully to himself:
"Of what avail is my gift to mankind? Blind eyes, deaf ears, cold hearts will never know the hidden, unfathomable wonder of my labor and my sacrifice!"
But as he looked down darkly on the earth a young soul looked up and met his gaze and smiled in recognition. Greatly the god rejoiced.
"They are my own," he said; "I had forgotten that the immortality of youth was infused into all humanity, even though it may become tarnished with the sophistry of age. Let the Golden Moment remain, that all whose hearts retain a vestige of their divine heritage may make use of it!"
And to this day the gift of the young god lies within the reach of all men. Only, how many have listened to the voice of the eternal youth within them?