From one world to the next, the stories are all the same. The ladder always runs in both directions. The spell always breaks like the wings of brittle birds. Climb as high, fall as far, sink so fast. Every choice is the closing of a thousand doors. Every road is its only hope.
Stars fall and wishes run their course. Odysseus comes home and Faust repents. The Devil loses every bet with God just like every other chump. Skip your ropes or stones. Brush your teeth and say your prayers. All the pieces were set before there ever was a game. Tell it the way you heard, make up something new, the story will hold its own.
What of the time, what of the ends, what of the ways and the means? The cream rises, the stone sinks. The prodigal feasts upon that fatted calf. The dish and spoon make their usual arrangements. One thing, then another. The plodding, then the epiphany. These strings of incantations. These tales we tell while the clock runs down.