The Courageous Son: A Fable



Once there were two brothers who lived in their father’s house.


But in the village where they lived there was no light, only utter darkness all the time. The people had never seen another face, and they stumbled through the day and the night blinded by the absence of light.


It was said that in the wilderness outside the village was a light that never went out, and if only someone found it and brought it back to the village the people could see one another’s faces for the first time.


Now the father was dying, and he called his sons to the bedside. He told them that before he died, he would like to see their faces. So they promised to him that they would seek the light and do what he had asked of them.


And so the brothers prepared for the journey and walked to the edge of the wilderness, with one saying I will go this way, and the other saying I will go that way.


But when one brother went off into the wilderness, the other stayed behind. He came to the edge of the wilderness and heard the distant roars of monsters and beasts that might devour him, and so he waited at the edge of the wilderness all day but did not venture away from the village. He trembled in fear and let the days pass so that he could return home and no one would know.


The other brother pressed into the wilderness and spent many days in search of the light that never went out. He battled with the monsters and beasts that leapt out at him and he slaughtered them with his blade and continued ever further into the wilderness. But he could not find the light and returned to the village so that his father could see the faces of his sons before he died.


And when this man came back and entered the house, he found his brother sitting by their father’s bed. At once, the father sat up in astonishment, for the brother who had gone into the wilderness was filled with light, and that light filled the house, and that light would bring life to all from this day forward.


The father asked where he found the light, but the son said I did not find any light, the light was already in me.


The father turned to his other son, whose face he now saw for the very first time, and asked, “why is there no light in you?”