Gold is Not the Brightest Thing in Our Land

But as she approached the last peak with exhaustion, she realized she could no longer carry the burden to the protective heavy armour. Her energy was running low and she would have to leave it behind. She stripped off the rich fabric of her armour leaving it in the vast land, where it would surely decompose unnoticed into the soil.
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Once upon a time in a rainy and dark land far away, a young lady perched in her favourite corner daydreamed through the window of sunny days and starlight night skies. This was a day like any other, a day where the young lady’s imagination kept her occupied for hours on end. 

While in her state of introspection, her wise great grandmother summons her to her quarters. 

“My dear girl, I have a task for you, one which will make you travel far. A difficult journey it will be, but one which will make you a star. You must climb the highest mountains and never take a rest, you must strive for perfection, only give it more than your best. Your soul might abandon you and you may be inflicted with scars, but completion of this task will make you raise all the bars. You may be left scarred, you may be left alone, but this is the only way, if you desire to sit on the throne. You must finish this task and return home more clever, for that is the only way you may live with us forever. 

On this mountain there is a shiny rock of gold, one which you must grasp before you turn too old. Once you behold this jewel, you will know brighter days, but to find this treasure, your world will be set ablaze.  

The journey will be difficult, the journey will be terror. But this is the path you must take, there is no error. The air will feel colder, you will see torrential rain, but if you prepare properly my dear, you can avoid much the of the pain. Be cautious, be cautious, take care in how you dress, for this passage will most certainly leave you an uncomfortable mess. Take these words with you and take them to heart, for I speak wisdom from our ancestors, my judgement sharp as a dart.”

The young lady graciously accepted the task at hand, knowing the old lady had her best interest at heart. For days and days , she made preparations for the long and arduous journey. She went to the local townspeople and had her robes custom made. Using the best fabrics available and specialty made shoes, he assured the adverse weather conditions on her way could not deter her at all. She left her town with her satchel of supplies, feeling brave, confident and determined. 

After a few days of travel, she finally encounters the mountain, She had beautifully prepared, this would be a pleasant challenge. As she begins her trek up, she realizes the sudden drastic change in climate. 

Against her expectation, there was no rain, nor cold, no pain. Rather there was sun, heat and just a stunning day. As she checked her satchel of supplies to retrieve the appropriate gear, she could not find a more suitable option to bear the heat. Only supplies meant for rain, cold and darkness. 

She trekked up the hill suffering immensely, for she was overheated, blinded by the bright sunshine and unaccustomed to the fanciful smells of nature blossoming. Her armour so heavy and hot as she trekked up the seemingly never-ending mountain. Days and days she journeyed, until finally one dark night, in the distance, she noticed a bright light. She knew in her gut she had reached her destination. One final peak to travel, she must push herself. 

But as she approached the last peak with exhaustion, she realized she could no longer carry the burden to the protective heavy armour. Her energy was running low and she would have to leave it behind. She stripped off the rich fabric of her armour leaving it in the vast land, where it would surely decompose unnoticed into the soil. 

To her great surprise, her journey was suddenly pleasant, comfortable…her movements agile. She breathed in the air so fresh, skipping her way to the top. This was a lovely journey, so bright and so nice. Dropping her armour was safest thing  for her to do, as now she was free to move as fast as she wished. She continued her trek upwards, seeing green pastures, shades of green never before seen, and embraced the warm sun on her now exposed skin. 

Our young lady approached the gold stone embedded into a great rock. She noticed the beautiful writing around the casing, “To hold this in your hand is to hold darkness till the very end”.

The young girl reflected on this meaning. What if she had just escaped the dark town of origin? Was this enough darkness for one lifetime? What was she to do? She wondered if her grandmother truly had her best interest at heart. 

The young lady finally understood  the meaning of the stone and the challenge she accepted. She pondered the risk and cried while she decided her next move. It is unfair she thought, I have just ridden myself of my armour. I will never be able to find it again. I felt the sun, the heat, I saw the stars, the moon and the nights, and calls of nature in the air.  How oh how will I weather the storm back home?

Weeks later the young lady returns home and presents herself to her great grandmother. She had survived the journey, much to her surprise, without the armour.  She was shocked to discover that contrary to the stories from her ancestors, the journey was safe, had pleasant weather, and was absolutely invigorating. 

With no guilt in her voice  she declares to her grandmother “ My wisdom, my heart , my loyal teller of tales, the wisdom you share always makes my heart swell. I climbed the highest mountains, I touched all the dirt, but in my conquest there is one detail which will make you hurt. For I have seen the starry sky, felt the heat on my skin, I cherished the beautiful days and the voice I found within. I disrobed on the journey, travelled till the end unguarded. I left the stone in its place and did not finish what I started.  I chose sunshine and stars every day of the week, and for this, please do not think me meek. I love you forever and value your way, but this journey has changed me and for that reason I cannot stay”

The young lady then ventured back into the mountains from which he came. Taking the journey this second time, she led her own way unarmoured. 

Feeling lighter than ever, she admired the stars and moon in the sky as left her village and the promise of gold forever. She noticed as she skipped away, that the beautiful dun was brighter than that stone on the mountain anyway. 

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