Before the fountain sits Swaine. To Swaine comes a Prince from Demacia who asks to gain entry into the fountain. But the Swaine says that he cannot grant him entry at the moment. The man thinks about it and then asks if he will be allowed to come in sometime later on. “It is possible,” says the Swaine, “but not now.” The gate to the fountain stands open, as always, and Swaine walks to the side, so the Demacian bends over in order to see through the gate into the inside. When Swaine notices that, he laughs and says: “If it tempts you so much, try going inside in spite of my prohibition. But take note. I am powerful. And I am only the most lowly Noxian. But from room to room stand more of us, each more powerful than the other. I cannot endure even one glimpse of the third, Urgot.”
The Prince has not expected such difficulties: the fountain should always be accessible foeveryone, he thinks, but as he now looks more closely at Swaine in cloaked flesh, stunted legs, and menacing birds, he decides that it would be better to wait until he gets permission to go inside. Swaine gives him a stool and allows him to sit down at the side in front of the gate. There he sits for days and years. He makes many attempts to be let in, and he wears Swaine out with his requests. Swaine often interrogates him briefly, questioning him about his homeland and many other things, but they are indifferent questions, the kind great men put, and at the end he always tells him once more that he cannot let him inside yet. The man, who has equipped himself with many things for his journey, spends everything, no matter how valuable, to win over the Swaine, from shimmering charms to glittering blades. The latter takes it all but, as he does so, says, “I am taking this only so that you do not think you have failed to do anything.”
During the years the man observes Swaine almost continuously. He forgets the other Noxians, and this first one seems to him the only obstacle for entry into the fountain. He curses the unlucky circumstance, in the first years thoughtlessly and out loud; later, as he grows old, he only mumbles to himself. He becomes childish and, since in the long years studying Swaine he has also come to know the fleas in his fur collar, he even asks the fleas to help him persuade Swaine. Finally his eyesight grows weak, and he does not know whether things are really darker around him or whether his eyes are merely deceiving him. But he recognizes now in the darkness an illumination which breaks inextinguishably out of the gateway to the fountain.
Now he no longer has much time to live. Before his death he gathers in his head all his experiences of the entire time up into one question which he has not yet put to Swaine. He waves to him, since he can no longer lift up his stiffening body. Swaine has to bend way down to him, for the great difference has changed things considerably to the disadvantage of the man. “What do you still want to know now?” asks Swaine. “You are insatiable.” “Everyone strives after the fountain,” says the man, “so how is it that in these many years no one except me has requested entry?” Swaine sees that the man is already dying and, in order to reach his diminishing sense of hearing, he shouts at him, “Here no one else can gain entry, since this entrance was assigned only to you. I’m going now to close it. CAW CAW CAW.”
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