On abstaining

Far to the north of the Arctic Circle,

too far perhaps to fit into the world,

is a mountain,

several miles high and many leagues in circumference.

At the foot of the mountain lives a colony of crows.

Once in every tenth generation, a crow

flies to the summit of the mountain

and sharpens its beak on the rock,

wearing away a near-invisible fragment of stone.

When the crows have worn the mountain into the sea

the first day of Lent will have passed.

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