Dejected, the girl returned to her boat.
Well, she thought, if I can't find mountain-climbing shoes on those islands, maybe I should find a new way to climb the hill?
She tried different routes.
She tried running up the hill.
She tried climbing at different times of day.
She found other hikers on the hill, and hiked with them.
Every day, she clambered up the hill. Every night, she returned to her little boat, a little stronger and a lot more tired. By the time the scorpion had chased the giant into the sunset, the girl had discovered several favorite routes and even more favorite trees and rocks and vistas.
One day, as she sat on the hill and watched the sunset, a fellow hiker approached her.
"You seem to be serious about climbing the hill," he said.
"Oh yes," replied the girl. "I'd like to climb mountains, but I haven't got any shoes, and the mountains are too craggy to climb barefoot. My feet aren't that tough."
"Tough feet come from climbing," said the hiker. "What's more important is the desire to climb, and the willingness to endure the blisters. You learn new routes quickly, you climb every day, and you don't seem to mind a stubbed toe here and there."
The girl got quiet. "I'm happiest when I'm climbing."
The hiker peered at the girl. "Some mountains have difficult routes."
"Oh, I know. Mountains are like the sea- sometimes it's calm, sometimes it's rough. I learned that a long time ago."
"Some mountains can't be climbed every day. Sometimes you can only climb a few days here or there."
"Well, on the off days I could climb the hill, or study maps, or learn new birdcalls, or stretch my feet. There are lots of ways to fill my days. I could even swim around the island, if I had to. I'm not worried. Some climbing is better than no climbing. I can't live in the boat forever."
The hiker nodded. He reached into his pack and took out a map.
"There are more islands with more mountains around than you realize."
To be continued.