Wandering Heart


​”Share with me the tale of the traveling man again, Grandad.” The young boy pleaded with open eyes, widened in wait, with interest.

“Again?” The old man chuckled as he lifted the blanket over the boy. Stopping before the boy’s head was underneath, he sat beside him. The old man looked into the fire and back at the boy. The fire lit in the small chimney just across from them, just a few feet away. The cabin barely 10 to 12 feet wide in a perfect square. A leather couch in the center, turned, facing the chimney and the small kitchen beside the chimney to the right. The bed just against the wall beside a window and the wooden door that led to the outside, at the edge of the bed frame. “After this you have to promise me you will go to sleep, ok? 

“Yes, I promise!” the young boy’s eyes twinkled from the crackling fires light in the cabin. The small setting was warm, filled with memories hung on walls and resting upon various places. The fire creating an orange tone that basked the cabin. Shadows fluttering with the swaying flames creating a dance that was mesmerizing. 

“Now listen carefully as this story is told, for many say it is a parable of one who wandered but was not lost.” the old man leaned a bit closer to the boy, making sure he was fully covered. 

After hugging his own body he continued, “there once was a man who knew not the way he would go. Though he knew of a home before, he needed directions to reach the place of the unknown. Leaving his village in search. No one knew how to get there but many he passed were from there. The man would contemplate, ‘How can this be?, he would tell himself, yet he would continue in this voyage. The man encountered a wolf one day, before reaching for his knife, the wolf bowed politely. The wolf led him to a stream where he gathered fresh water and something to eat. As he finished eating, he asked the wolf if he could lead him out of the forest he was in. The wolf just asked for one thing in return, to love. After the wolf led him a great distance, they parted. The man was then exhausted one day and met a bird. The bird boasted about seeing the heaven’s and the place she had seen. The man was envious of the bird’s wings and eyes. The bird told him she would let him see what she saw but only if he gave her his eyes. He didn’t understand of course but complied. Awakening the next day blind and cursing the bird. The man continued on for many days and nights, stumbling along the way, though he had a walking stick to help him along his path. Without his knowing, he had entered a cave along his way. The cave was home to a dragon. The dragon asked the man where he was going. The man replied that he was in search of the unknown where home was more than a word. The dragon scratched his chin, though the man couldnt see the Dragon. The dragon looked at the man’s walking stick and bag, saying, ‘I will take you to this place, in return, give me all your riches and what you have.’. The man was starting to have hope, after all this time, he thought. He said of course and reached out, holding his bag. The dragon huffed and puffed, filling the cave with smoke, ‘I do not want your mere items, for haven’t you heard, dragon’s only desire true treasure’ tapping the man’s chest. The man felt his beating chest, grabbed his shirt and shouted, ‘I cannot and will never ‘. The dragon was shocked at first, ‘My what a golden heart you have indeed.’. The dragon laughed and started to rise in the cave. The man felt the trembling ground beneath him. The dragon launched himself out the cave with the man and they soared through the sky. In what appeared to be a few hours the man began to see before him. His eyes adjusted to his surroundings once more, to his surprise, he was at the village. He was on the ground, beside the dragon. He had forgotten to hold tightly to his bag and stick. The dragon looked down at him. The man felt his heart in his chest, relieved. He waved as the dragon flew away moments later. He looked around the village, the children running and playing, his neighbors smiling and talking to one another, the air filled with scents of flour. He felt the wind brush against his skin, turning to face the sun basking his skin he smiled, saying ‘I’ve made it’.”

The old man looked at the boy who was now asleep. He slowly got up and moved to the couch. Sitting beside the fire he yawned and closed his eyes, whispering, “Such was his tale, he who followed his heart…” and fell to sleep.

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