Orion is hunting his way through Boetia when he spots seven girls sitting on the green bank of a river. “Well, hello, ladies,” he says, and they scream, because Orion’s eight feet tall. Orion laughs; it’s the roar of a forest fire. “Whatever you might say, I’m for you. Come and give us a kiss, there’s a good girl.”

The girls are up and running before he’s finished talking, bounding through the trees like deer, flitting between the ferns so swiftly and easily only the wind of their passage marks them. Orion claps his hands together (it might be a cypress falling to the earth) and springs after them. He sings a poem to himself:

Beautiful are you
round-heeled, white-limbed girls
dancing through the forest
My name is Orion, my love the chase
run, my pretties; I follow
best of hunters, most clever of trackers
implacable and joyous

They run for seven years, the girls always a ragged leap ahead of Orion, Orion always laughing after them. He’s close enough that their flying hair brushes his outstretched hands when a whirlwind comes down and scoops the girls up and away into the night sky. “Damn,” says Orion, and pulls air deep into his lungs. “Almost.”