Once upon on time in a land far far away, a boy was walking along a lane where everyone else also ambled.
A little girl noticed that boy was so far in front of the rest of the walkers that she wondered to herself, why is he in the lead by such a whopping margin.
Looking around at the others who were all so near to her, she imagined what it must be like to be the one that the others looked towards for direction.
The boy in the lead looked back and saw the little girl far behind him. His heart was moved by the little girl, he stopped and reached out his hand to take hers.
They were both taken with each other, he for what she was and who she could become, and she for who he was.
Hand in hand they sauntered along the path, always ahead of the others. The cheers from the other walkers and those who had gathered around the side of the path made them both feel safe and secure about their journey.
In a time the boy realized that the little girl had grown tired of the briskness of their walk. He tried pulling her harder, teaching her how to walk like he, and told her that she too had inside of her the heart of a leader.
The little girl believed him and picked up her pace with a smile on her face.
Soon, again the little girl was weakening, and the boy noticed her gazing fondly at some people resting along the path and at some far behind them.
This weakened the boys heart, and he came to lose his own inspiration, eventually slowing down and joining the others.
Having been so far in front of the group, that they they were now a part of, the boy noticed that the group spoke a different language than he had known before.
They seemed to tell each other things they wanted to hear. They made each other feel safe and comfortable, no matter how slow they walked.
The boy also noticed that the only thing that this group seemed concerned about was those in front of the group and those behind the group they were now a part of. They followed but also derided those ahead of them, and felt sorry for those behind them. Such a strange way of thinking, the boy thought to himself.
Soon a violent storm came! The boy looked for a way out of the twister that was headed for the group, he thought he saw a path and started down it.
When he reached for his little girls hand, it was no longer there, she had stayed with the group that they had once both led so far in front of the others.
The boy, now on a path that he alone could see, braved it alone.
He looked back for his little girl but saw that she was now happy with her new group, and so far behind him now, still on the same path that someone else had made, the path that they had both journeyed for so long together.
The boys path was a difficult one, and all by himself he remained, though his progress waxed and waned, he kept forging it alone.
When we looked back, he could sometimes hear his little girl and her group joking and laughing at him as he cried in fear, all alone on his path.
This caused his heart to break and at times he didn’t believe in himself anymore or that his path would lead him anywhere. He started and stopped and started and stopped, one screaming monster after the other came directly towards him alone on his path.
After an arduous and long journey alone, the boy, now a man saw the light and no longer looked back for his little girl or her group of little children.
His heart now intended for other sojourners who he saw in the distance, forging their own paths that led to the same place where the light had been revealed to him.
The little children, all huddled together dutifully following a distant leader (on a path made by wisemen long before they were born), when not parroting the confusing signs that line their byway, recount tales from their past and their longings for a better future to those who will listen, in an attempt to distract themselves and each other along their monotonous way.
On occasion, when there is a lull amongst their chatter, some of the little children notice movement and light far off in the dark jungles that flank the safety of their common trail, though their views be obscured by the fanciful adornments they’ve fashioned to make themselves feel unique and special.
It is from these murky remembrances that legends, myths and tales of all manner are created to entertain and mystify the troupe when they all finally rest from their exhausting days journey, though many distract themselves while walking when others are not watching.
Though they rarely stray from the safety of their own group, they’ve had some scary experiences before, like the little girl who mistakenly went too far ahead with the crazy boy, or those who’ve gazed too intently at the uncharted lands that surround them.
For this, they feel much shame and pledge to live as the placards that surround them instruct, they put away their childish fantasies and validate each other’s pretensions and lack of understanding, though they remain as little children.
They imagine people they’d like to be near the front of their band, and attempting the spells they’ve memorized from the strange words given them, they try to convince those around them they are who they are not.
Surprisingly the other little children believe their contrived fictions, though they’ve all tacitly made a pact to always hide the truth from each other.
Those, from their own number who fall from their ranks, are either forgotten, dismissed as fools or vilified to form their group into one unified mind, though unwittingly their bond is one of fear.
When a little child’s time is finished on the path, the other little children feel so bad and attempt to express things they’ve heard of called truth, love, empathy and compassion, as a flood of strange and painful feelings envelopes them.
Not knowing how to act, they remember some of the more confusing messages they read along their path, and hope that the foreign words have some impact on the other’s.
Though the little children could never possibly know or understand, the messages that they’ve seen all around them were written by men and women who ventured into the mystical and frightening forests that they’ve spent their entire childish lives trying to avoid.
The wise men themselves did not place the signs, but those who intended to turn their wisdom into a confusing but effective tool to keep those on the path as little children, no matter their age.