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If there had not been the long phalanx of black swan sweeping over to the green west. If their clarion crying had not come down like a challenge to the two walking by the old hut in the bush. If there had not been a wild apple tree blooming there, shedding its bridal petals on Julia's drooping head, all might have been different.

Yet how could it be different? Destiny assuredly had planned this from the beginning and only Life had made the mistake. Mab stopped, laying his hand on her arm. And she stopped, smiling faintly like a woman obedient to the call of her man. A magpie carolled, full of joy, on the mossy old boundary fence. Crickets chirped in the long grass. Mab flung an arm suddenly about Julia and carried her into the hut, shutting the door behind.