For one day, when Miss Ophelia had driven into a snowstorm in her car and was stuck, she suddenly saw a vast shadow looming up in front of her, a shadow much darker than all the rest.
>>Are you another shadow that nobody wants?<< she asked.
>>Yes,<< said the shadow slowly, >>I think you could say so.<<
>>Do you want to come and stay with me too?<< asked Miss Ophelia.
>>Would you take me in?<< asked the great shadow, coming closer.
>>Well, I do have more than enough shadows already,<< said the little old lady, >>but you must have some place to go.<<
>>Don't you want to know my name first?<< asked the shadow.
>>What is it, then?<<
>>They call me Death.<<
Then there was silence for quite a long time.
>>Will you take me in?<< asked the shadow at last, gently.
>>Yes,<< said Miss Ophelia, >>come along.<<
Then the great, cold shadow wrapped itself around her, and the whole world went dark. But suddenly she felt as if she were opening a brand-new pair of eyes, eyes that were young and clear, not old and short-sighted any more. And she didn't need glasses now to see where she was.
She was standing at the gates of Heaven, and around her stood a throng of beautiful figures in bright clothes, smiling at her.
>>Who are you all?<< asked Miss Ophelia.
>>Don't you know us?<< they said. >>We're all the shadows you took in. We are free now; we needn't wander any more.<<
Then the gates of Heaven opened, and the bright figures went in, taking little old Miss Ophelia with them. They led her to what looked like a wonderful palace, though it was really the finest and most magnificent theatre ever seen.
Above the entrance there were big gold letters, saying:
OPHELIA'S THEATRE OF LIGHT
So ever since, Miss Ophelia's shadows have been acting tales of the fortunes of mankind for the angels in the beautiful language of the poets, for the angels know that language too, and it tells them how wretched yet wonderful, how sad yet comical it is to be human and live on Earth.
Miss Ophelia whispers her actors the words of their parts, in case they get stuck. And some say that the Lord God himself sometimes comes to watch the plays. But nobody knows for sure.
Ophelia's Shadow Theatre