The loss of life, no matter to what extent, is always unfortunate in this world. Whether it be the death of a loved one, a dog, or even a tree, life itself is a sacred mystery, and its passing is a misfortune to the universe. To some, this fact isn't known. To others, it's realized but not practiced. To others, it's a way of life, to cherish life in all its forms.

In 1692, during the peak of summertime in July, in the town of Andover, Massachusetts, lived a young woman by the name of Mary-Anne. The woman was a thinker, and very independent, two traits which were almost certainly a death sentence at the time. It was in the midst of the witch trials, and it wouldn't be long before they affected her personally.

This young maiden, who lived alone in the forest, was frequented by a visitor, who was also very thoughtful and progressive in his ideas. He was the only person who ever came to see Mary-Ann, and was her only friend. Indeed, he was a man who had immigrated from China, was a Buddhist, and was very well-educated in a variety of subjects. His name was Len, or so that's what he wanted her to call him. She suspected it was something much more oriental, though. Regardless, the two sat on many occasions, talking together about all sorts of things. The man would bring books for her to read, and she would give him books to take as well. It was a very fulfilling relationship for the both of them, considering that both were deemed outcasts, by and large.

On one unfortunate evening just after sundown, Len was walking home from Mary Ann's, carrying a book on astrology that she'd given him to study. They'd been talking about the mysteries of the heaven's all day, and she thought it would be fit to share it with him. On his journey, a local passed, and inquired about the book Len was carrying.

"This book," Len began, "is nothing to concern yourself with. It is my business alone, and yours to forget."

The other man, offended by such a response, left and took his discretion up with the local priest, who was in fact a ring leader to the ignorant and gullible, and spread hate and violence as far as his voice could carry. He told the priest how this foreigner had books of a taboo subject, else he would have revealed what it was he was reading. The priest and the fool formed a mob, and this mob went to Len's home and ransacked his study. They found all sorts of literature, all of which, in their eyes, was incriminating. They bound the man and took him to the judge, who quickly condemned the man to death on grounds of sorcery. He was hung the next day, and his body was discarded in the forest. It was very inhumane, to say the least.

A few days later, and Mary Ann was beginning to grow concerned. She strolled aimlessly through the forest to rid herself of this worry, hoping that nature would be her comforter. Sadly, she stumbled upon the body of her beloved friend, and began to weep. His body was rotting covered in flies. All of her fears had been fulfilled by the sight of his corpse. She wasn't only upset by the death of her friend, but also by the fact that he wasn't given a proper burial. He had educated her some on his culture and traditions, and she began to say prayers which might have guided his soul in the afterlife, should there be one. Her faith was crushed, and she doubted such a thing. Nonetheless, she respected her friend too much to let her own opinions get in the way.

She went home and retrieved some oils and incense, bundled them in a large quilt that she'd made, grabbed a small shovel that she'd only used for gardening, and returned to her dead friend. Once there, she began to dig his grave, one small scoop of dirt at a time. It was painstaking, and she wept the entire time. After she'd dug a hole big enough to hide his body, she began a proper burial, or at least as proper as she could. She lit the incense, poured the different oils over his body, wrapped him in the quilt she'd made, and sang songs of mourning to the deceased. It was all very terrible for her. She knew she couldn't stay in Andover much longer, lest she would be next.