There once was a woman that was well loved. Her friends and family loved her so much that they brought her gifts from all over the world. Some gifts were monetarily valuable but the simple gifts were the ones she loved the most. At the time of her death the woman had many beautiful treasures.
Soon after the woman's death the buzzards arrived, singing their song, "Mine, mine all is mine! Everything I touch is mine, is mine. Mine, mine, all is mine! Everything I touch is mine, is mine."
The buzzards rummaged and tore apart the woman's house, stealing all they could carry. They fought over the most valuable pieces. One of the scavengers found a beautiful porcelain doll, but before she could add it to her sack of treasures a bigger buzzard came and squawked, "I saw it first! It's MINE!" And ripped it away from the little scavenger.
Later when the buzzards were resting and eating the last of the woman's food a man came. He was the woman's son. The buzzards' feathers ruffled as they made the man unwelcome in his mother's home. "What do you want?" the big buzzard asked. "There is nothing here of value. Go away and let us finish cleaning your mother's house."
The man raised his and said, "You can have my mother's things and her money, too. I am here for one thing only. I gave my mother a porcelain doll when I was young. I'd like to have it back to remind me of how happy she was when I gave it to her. One day I want to tell my daughter the story of my wonderful mother and give her the doll to remind her. Then she could do the same for her daughter. A woman as fine as my mother should never be forgotten."
The small buzzard wept for the man and said, "Oh, I've seen this doll and ... "
Before she could finish the bigger buzzard screamed, "NO! There's nothing like that here. There's never been anything like that here. You must be mistaken. I don't recall ever seeing anything like that." Then she glared at the little buzzard. "You must be talking about something else!"
The little buzzard nodded obediently. Afraid of the big buzzard's wrath she bowed her head and whispered, "My mistake."
The big buzzard squawked again. "There has never been anything like that here. You must have dreamed it. Go, ask the neighbor. Ask the postman. They will tell you it was a dream. There's nothing like that here. Now, go away. We have work to do!"
The man eyes flooded with tears as he turned and walked away. He was sure it was not a dream, but then he thought, "Why would they lie?" And in his grief he doubted himself. "Maybe it was a dream."
After the buzzards had picked over all of the woman's belongings, the big buzzard went home and placed the porcelain doll in a place of honor on the highest shelf.
A year passed and one day the big buzzard saw the woman's son and a girl walking up the drive. She rushed to hide the doll. She told the little buzzard, "Hurry, hide this. Don't let him see!" She ran to the door, opened it and asked breathlessly, "What do you want?! I have nothing for you!"
"Oh, but we have something for you. We made this cake from my mother's recipe. She taught me how to make it when I was a child. Today I taught my daughter how to make it and it reminded me of my dream about the porcelain doll. What a wonderful dream that was. I shared the dream with my daughter along with the recipe. As we baked, it occurred to me that I don't need a token to remember my mothers' love and joy, because it's here in my daughter and me. We brought you this cake to show our gratitude for your hard work cleaning my mother's house."
For once the buzzard felt humbled and for a moment considered returning the doll, but squashed the idea because she did not want to admit to her lies. She said, "I can't take this. You should keep such a special thing for yourselves."
"No," the man said, " We are going to make many more cakes to share with our friends. I plan to teach my daughter all of the recipes my mother taught me and with every recipe a memory, because a woman as fine as my mother should never be forgotten." The girl handed the cake to the buzzard, smiled his mother's joyous smile and left.
When the little buzzard saw the cake her mouth began to water. "May I have a piece?" She asked.
"NO! IT'S MINE! ALL MINE! Go away from here." As the little buzzard walked way from the house the big buzzard began to devour the cake. Barely stopping to breathe, she stuffed handfuls of the delicious cake in her beak. Suddenly, the buzzard began to choke. She struggled and flailed about but she could not dislodge the moist cake from her gullet and there was no one there to save her because she has chased them all way with her greed and bitterness.
As the buzzard's eyes darkened she saw a vision of the woman, her son and the porcelain doll. She could see their love and joy and realized that she had not and would not ever know these things for herself. Hell had been of her own making. Quiet came to her and she received it without a fight.
Soon after the buzzard's death a flock of buzzards came to scavenge. The little buzzard came but took only one thing. As she set the doll by the man's door the little buzzard had the feeling of warm water being poured over her heart and a beam of light rising from her soul.