“Swoosh” said River and tilted his head to the left.

“Ah, you want me to tell you a story don’t you? Hmmm…let me see…” Mermaid touched the tip of her nose and swirled around three times so that she was suddenly surrounded by a coat of sparkling bubbles.

“To tell a story is to share a small piece of one’s heart and it’s within a heart that this story was born. Many years ago, when the moon was pink and the sea was yellow there lived a very special heart. On the outside, the heart was carried by the same being as all the other hearts, but on the inside it was very different from them. You see, each heart had one animal inside it and no heart had the same. Each animal unique to its heart made each heart unique to its carrier, but although each heart was unique, none had ever been special. The one thing that made this heart so special was the fact that instead of just one animal – it had two.”

01-panther-owl-original-paintwork
Panther & Owl

“shhhhhhhhhhhhhh” said┬áRiver and became a mirror of the sky.

“For many years the heart’s carrier felt a heaviness that he couldn’t explain, so one day the carrier went to see a Heart Hopper, a mystical being that had the power to hop in and out of hearts. The carrier had walked for many miles, crawled through caves and waded through black water, all the while carrying the heaviest of hearts. Whenever the carrier felt like he couldn’t crawl or wade anymore, just as he was about to give in and turn back, his heart would give two enormous thumps. So hard were these thumps that they would push his chest forward and his body would have no choice but to follow.

“Then finally, after one-hundred-and-twenty-three days and four moon storms, the carrier reached the entrance of the heart hopper’s lair…