The Mirror of Truth

The Magic Coin

The Gopher’s Other World

The Forbidden Union

The Trail of Paradox

The Squirrel and the Apple

The Camel’s Conclusion

Will and Trust

The Subservient Child

Fanning the Freedom Flame

The Seed of Possibility

Harvest Forlorn


“Stories tell us of what we already knew and forgot, and remind us of what we haven’t yet imagined.”

—Anne L. Watson

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Fanning the Freedom Flame

_____One magical night, over a candle-lit dinner for two, a young man fell deeply in love with a beautiful young woman. She was the personification of all things fair and marvelous. The Creator's Grace had touched her soul, and she was the essence of true Love. Freedom had kissed her forehead and given her its noble blessing.
_____In awe of her mystical presence, the young man sat quietly, gazing into her eyes through the candle's flame. Her eyes, fixed upon his, danced the minuet of intimacy while words unspoken rang between them in masterful harmony. He wished the moment would never end, but end it did, and the young man found himself alone once more.
_____At evening's end that magical night, the young man had expressed his gratitude and extended a promise to the beautiful soul. He opened his heart to her and invited her inside his soul. Hoping to repeat the supernatural communion they had shared, he offered her an open invitation to share the candlelight with her at anytime she so desired.
_____Each night he prepared the table with the hope of repeating their magical feast. A place setting for two adorned his table, and the candle in the centerpiece burned brightly in the darkened room. But each night, a solitary silhouette flickered on the dining room wall.
The dishes and utensils on the table began to wonder what drove the man to such madness. What could cause one to be so persistent?
_____"Why does he continue this futility?" questioned the plate.
_____"It is difficult for me to understand," added the saucer, "as I would have had the sense to realize long ago that she has no desire to return."
_____The cup was equally confused. "Why does he continue his lonely quest when it is obvious it hurts him deeply. His heart thirsts for her, yet the well is dry. Still, he lights the candle each night with such reverence and hope."
_____When the young man brought the food to the table, the situation grew even more perplexing. An aromatic appetizer offered his view of the unusual behavior. "I cast forth a fragrance which invites others to my feast. Once they experience my savory blessing, their appetite lures them to return. When I have done my work well, my patrons will beg for more. He possesses such a marvelous gift. Why does he refuse to bewitch her with his charm? She'd surely find it impossible to reject such persuasion, yet he never even reminds her of his invitation."
_____As each of the other occupants of the table clambered and clattered at his unusual behavior, the candlestick stood quietly and firmly at the center of the table. Surrounded by chaos and confusion, it seemed oblivious to the questions posed. Atop it, the tiny little flame knew.
_____Effortlessly, the flame burns brightly, ever-changing yet undeniably open to the world around it. The wick offers itself in sacrifice while the candle weeps joyful tears of wax. At the base of the spark, oxygen gives selflessly to the cause. The fire cannot look back or pause to consider the gifts she receives, for in the flame's world to stand idle is to perish. Even so, her seemingly eternal radiance casts forth the warmth of her gratitude.
_____No one can see from whence the fire comes, and no one knows where it goes. The solid wick and the invisible oxygen meet with a mysterious spark and together join as one. Anyone can see the light, feel the warmth and smell the trail of smoke that lingers in the breeze, yet nothing and no one can possess the flame. Parted from the source, the fire dies. Cut off from the supply of air, death is certain. Though one may come very near, surround the flame entirely and it will no longer burn.
_____Just what is this flame? Is it solid wick turned to gaseous smoke? Is it air turned to radiance? Is it life longing for living; love longing for loving? In silence, wick and flame understand this union.
_____The wick knows nothing but to prepare a place for the spark, for it has no dominion over fire. Cold and alone, it awaits the chance to burn itself out, giving way to the warmth of love. As wick to flame, so is the young man to his beloved lady.

© 1993 - Paul Stephens