The Tempting Stranger & His Magic Book
BY VERONICA SMITH
During a walk my partner and I took today, we were talking about some repeating patterns that keep showing up. As we sat down on a bench, I asked him, “So what do you see in all that?” Aaron — profound, wise one that he is — said, “Well, I don’t have an answer, but I do have a story.”
I ended up finding the story so profound and enlightening that I wanted to share it. Below is that story (with a few added parts of my own).
. . .
There once was a young maiden from a small farm town. As she grew up, she attracted the attention of an equally sweet and kind farm boy, and they decided to get married. They settled down and were very happy in their quiet, peaceful life in this quiet, peaceful town.
One day, as the young maiden was walking down a well-known path, she came across a stranger, the likes of which she had never seen before.
He was tall, dark, with piercing blue eyes, and had a strange charm about him. As they stopped and talked, he asked her what she thought about her life. She said she liked it just fine.
Looking at her with an odd smile on his face he said, “You know there’s more, don’t you?”
“If you ever decide that you’d like a bit more excitement, there’s this spellbinding book you should read, everyone who’s anyone has read it. If you’re interested in reading it too, it’s hidden in the forest, a few yards deep, in a field. I promise it will change your life forever.”
After a pause, he continued, “I should mention though, that there is a price to be paid before it will open for you — it requires a single drop of your blood.”
The young maiden was horrified by the thought of a book that required such an offering and quickly decided to forget the whole strange encounter. But the seed had been planted, and soon she started to notice that her once perfect life was, from this new perspective, just as boring as the stranger had alluded to.
She started to feel stifled by this too-calm life. She fought the temptation as long as she could, but one night, after a peaceful dinner with her sweet husband, she snuck out under the full moon and went to the spot in the woods where she was told the book lay hidden.
As she came upon it and saw the beautiful light radiating from the book’s cover, she felt a rush of excitement. “The stranger was right! This is a magical book!”
And thinking it was only a small price to pay, she pricked her finger with a nearby thorn and pressed it into the locked binding.
All of a sudden the book flew open and a giant, black cloud came roaring out. The young maiden desperately tried to undo what she had done, but it was too late — the Tiamat beast has been let loose.
Fearful for her life, she dropped the book and ran as fast as she could deeper into the forest. As she was running, she took the chance of a quick look back, but to her surprise, the beast was not following her.
Grateful, she decided to head back to her quiet home and never speak a word of this to anyone.
On her path back though, her heart filled with dread. The beast had not followed her tracks deeper into the forest, it had followed her initial tracks in.
Fear consumed her and she ran to the edge of the forest, hoping that the worst had happened.
But as she reached the edge of her town, she dropped to her knees and sobbed as she saw the dark, burnt trail that had consumed every house, including her own.
Grief consumed her. Her beautiful life, her kind husband, everyone she knew — all gone. She vowed to hunt down the dark stranger that had led her so far astray, regardless of how impossible of a task that seemed.
She wandered the world — angry, resentful, broken.
Every once in a while she would think she saw the dark stranger, and run righteously and vengefully towards them. “You’ll pay for what you’ve done!” She’d scream, only to find, once up close, that the figure was not the original stranger, but in fact, only had a few traits here or there that reminded her of him.
On and on the now much older woman searched, through many lands and many adventures, endlessly vengeful and unable to forgive the long-gone, shadowy stranger and his magical book.
One day, in a city far from her home, the old woman sat on a bench looking at the lovely sunset, hating the path her life had taken. “Why, oh why, did I have to run into that stranger all those years ago? Everything would have been perfect if I just hadn’t met him!”
Not noticing she had spoken out loud, an old man came up and sat down on the bench next to her.
His piercing blue eyes met hers and he said, “What seems to be the trouble, dear woman?”
She broke down and told him the whole story. How she had been traveling the world for decades looking for the man who had ruined her life. “So you hated going to all those new places?” he asked.
“Well, no, I actually really enjoyed seeing the world,” she said.
“So it was not having your husband beside you all these years then that is troubling you so?”
Sheepishly she replied, “Actually, now that you mention it, I haven’t thought about him in years.”
“So what exactly are you so upset about, my dear?”
And with that simple question, the woman started to see her life from a completely new perspective.
She had actually loved her travels and all the people she had met along the way. Even her vengeance had propelled her to overcome many of her once meek traits, and she had done things she never would have had the confidence to do in her early years.
Slowly, the wheels in her head started to shift and turn, and for the first time in decades, finally started to spin in a harmonious way.
She, after all these years, was ready to accept, even celebrate, her past decisions. “I can’t thank you enough sir.” She said, tears in her eyes.
And with an odd smile that, while familiar, she couldn’t quite place, the old man simply replied, “You’re welcome.”
. . .
So let me ask you — who or what in your life has been your tempting ‘Stranger’ (aka Poppy Field / Siren Call)?
And who or what in your life has been your game-changing ‘Magic Book’ (aka Hades / Green Island)?
How have these people or events shaped your life and made you who you are today?
And finally, if you’re ready — and only if you’re ready, there’s magic in the struggle that shouldn’t be hurried — how can you accept or celebrate them and your part in them?
“If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” ~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
All is unfolding as it should…
Veronica’s Heart Howl: Astrologer, Artist, Teacher, Storyteller, Soft-Hearted Seeker of Non-Dualistic Truth who is here to lovingly open the eyes of those who are ready (including my own).
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom.
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