This, Soren realized in the deepest part of his gizzard, was why they had to go to the Great Ga’Hoole Tree. For when the world one knew began to crumble away bit by bit, when not only your memories but the memories that others might have of you grew dim with time and distance, when, indeed, you began to fade into a nothingness in the minds of the owls that you loved best, well, perhaps that was when legends could become real.
At the other side of the runnel, the machine shrieked, groaned and rattled, and drilled. then all at once it shook and shuddered – wheezed – and stopped. Frantically, men worked to get it going again. But they couldn’t. It had collapsed! John Henry’s hammering still rang and echoed through the tunnel with a strong and steady beat.
Suddenly there was a great crash. Light streamed through the tunnel. John Henry had broken through! Wild cries of joy burst from the men. Still holding one of his hammers, John Henry stepped out into the glowing light of a dying day. It was the last step he ever took.
–John Henry, An American Legend, by Ezra Jack Keats
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