Once upon a time a man stood over a hole in the ground — not an ordinary hole, but a musical hole. For hundreds of years talented musicians had heard new sounds and notes come from deep within and had been inspired. Even though the man was musically gifted, he heard nothing.
"No one who has gone down has come back sane. Why should I be any different? I shall be one note short of an octave."
After an hour of listening he lowered a rope and climbed down. Inside the hole he found a chamber with eight doors. He strained to listen at the first door. There was a combination of notes and sounds that the world of music had not yet conceived, beautiful tones and melodies. His hand clutched the handle, but did not open the door.
"What if death is playing behind this door? What a sweet way to die. But I’ll not open it until I’ve listened to every door."
The music behind each door was more elegant and marvelous than the one before and the temptation to hear the fullness of the sound became stronger and stronger. He crawled over to the final door and listened. The faint music described how he felt to be — who he was. He could not help himself, it was deeper and more inspiring than he could withstand, he opened the door and staggered inside. He was in a dark tunnel surrounded by fibrous membrane, the door vanished behind him. The song surrounded him, entered him, lifted him up and out of himself.
Then after all of time or no time at all the music stopped and he fell to the ground. A door opened at the far end of the tunnel. After much weeping and searching the man dragged himself out of the darkness into the brightness of the day. He looked back at the tunnel, but there was nothing but a blank rock face, no sign of a door.
"I have heard the music and I am sane."
He got to his feet, dusted himself off and walked back towards the town he came from. He whistled, but he could not find the right note. He hummed, but he could not catch the right tune.
"I heard it. It’s inside of me, yet I can not quite grasp it. I have never forgotten a tune in my life."
He tried to sing, but shook his head after a few notes.
"It’s like not being able to remember the name of someone you grew up with."
He whistled again, through two octaves of notes and stopped.
"It’s like not being able to find the flute you’re holding. I can not remember the tune and yet its vastness fills me."
He tried to hum other tunes he had sung and played his whole life, but after a few notes he stopped.
"Unnatural. Contrived. Everything else sounds wrong compared. There is no music."
He walked on muttering and singing to himself. The people in the town asked him, “what is wrong?”
"I can not remember. Everything is wrong."
The people on the road asked him, “what is wrong?”
"I can not hear it. I can not sing it."
Other musicians asked him as they played, “what is wrong?”
"That is no music."
His clothes turned to rags. His body became thin and wasted. With death’s fingers around his throat he finally rasped the forgotten melody.