It had only been a few days since I left the jungle, when I met a small friendly dog named Virgil.
“I once ate a head” he told me as we walked along the path together.
“A head?” I asked, not quite sure what to make of this.
“Yes, an entire head. But do not worry, it was already severed when I found it.” he said with a smile.
I had not considered that he might have severed the head in the first place, but now that he brought it up, the thought wouldn’t leave my mind.
“So, where does one find a severed head on the plains?” I asked.
“I don’t think you ever really find things on the plains” Virgil said and sat down. “Things find you when you need them”.
“And you needed a head?” I asked and sat down next to him.
“I never really knew what I needed. All I knew was that I was very very unhappy”
I ran my hand gently over his soft furry back and patted his side.
“I had been walking the plains by myself for more than a year. Not knowing where I was going or what I was looking for.” he said and looked at me.
“But there it was… nothing for over a year, and now, the severed head of another dog”
“Have you ever eaten a head?” asked the head.
“A head? I don’t think so” answered Virgil.
“People used to believe that you could obtain the soul of another person by eating part of their body.”
“You should eat me!”
“I don’t think so!”
“I used to be happy.” … “Eat me, and maybe you can be happy too“
“You’re telling me that happiness stems from the soul?” Virgil asked.
“No, I’m telling you that I used to be happy. If you eat me, I might be able to help you find happiness too.” answered the head.
“That’s when I ate him. Not with any hope of taking his soul, but simply to end the conversation.”
“So did it?” I asked.
“Did it help you find happiness”
“Maybe not happiness, but it was the head that led me to you… and while I’m not yet happy, I’m no longer lonely” Virgil said with a smile as he looked at me.
“Well, neither am I” I responded and smiled.
For a few fleeting moments, the plains felt good. Vast open spaces and a friendly companion by my side.
Virgil never told me if he came from the jungle too, but it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that we were sharing the quest for happiness and enjoying the sun and fresh open air on the plains.