Welcome to the Dragon Cave. Sit by the fire and signal Sessin for a bag of marshmallows. I'll tell you a tale.
"I am sick," he confessed to the Moon, his only friend. "I'm leaving on a quest, for I want to find Love. I've heard it's a flower that grows in the desert. I've heard Love can work miracles. She will help me."
"Don't leave." The Moon warned him as she followed her little friend. "The desert is too dry for you. The road is dangerous. Here you have everything a toad needs. "
"Everything except the cure to my illness, that of my name. Life has lost its meaning to me. My friend, the Mole Oblivion, used to ease my hopeless days with his visits. But I've not seen him in months. I've heard Love is what I need. Don't try to stop me. I've made up my mind."
"So be it, but allow me at least a piece of advice. Beware of the Owl Death. He stalks in the dark and he is ruthless."
"I'll be careful." The toad made haste.
"Also, keep your eyes wide open-"
"Yes, yes." Loneliness leaped faster.
"You may pass by your cure without recognizing it!" The Moon added but a cloud covered her and Loneliness didn't hear her.
*He leaped his way through the fireflies meadow without problems. However, Owl Death stalked in the woods. The Moon tried to warn her friend by casting the owl's shadow. Loneliness hopped to hide but the Owl was quicker.
"Please, let me go." Loneliness begged, struggling in Death's claw.
The Owl laughed. "Why? Aren't you happy to see me? I know you, Loneliness. Your friend, the mole, told me everything about you."
A chill crawled up the toad. "Do you know Oblivion?"
"It was last winter. We had a chat before dinner. He said you were longing for me. And your timing is excellent. I'm tired of eating moles and mice. I know I will like you."
"Let me go, I beg you. I wished for you, it's true. But I'm on a quest to the desert now. I'm looking for the flower named Love. At least, let me meet her. You can always have me later."
The Owl's eyes darkened. "Love? You should let me eat you now and I will spare you a lot of trouble. If you meet Love, you may end up full of thorns Pain and thorns Sorrow."
"You're wrong. She will cure me. Please let me go. Let me find Love before you eat me."
Owl Death released him. "All right but don't say I didn't warn you. I know you will come back to me anyway."
*Loneliness reached the desert and found the flower he was looking for. She was standing straight and proud, facing the sky.
"Are you the flower named Love?" he asked, stunned by her beauty.
"Yes, but don't disturb me now."
"Excuse me, if you would just-"
"Hush! I'm waiting. Go away." The flower said without averting her attention from the sky.
"Waiting? For what?"
The flower snorted her impatience. "I am waiting for the clouds. They will bring rain upon me and together, we will turn the desert into a garden full of flowers like me."
"A garden full of flowers like you? That would be wonderful!"
"Exactly!" The joy in her voice was soon replaced by despise. "But clouds won't approach if you're here. You smell so bad. Go away."
"I don't ask much of you. I just want you to cure me."
"Cure you? Who are you anyway?"
"I'm toad Loneliness and my illness is that of my name. If you would just look at me, I know I would be well again."
"I am sorry but I can't divert my attention. The garden is more important than an ugly toad. I must wait for the rain. Go. I can't help you. Go!"
*Love's rejection sank Loneliness heart in a torment he had not known before. Blinded by tears, the toad made his way back.
He crossed by a pond where the flower named Hope grew big and broad. But the toad's gaze was clouded and he passed by without recognizing her. The Moon called him but Loneliness' ears were deaf with his own laments.
"Ah ha! You're back again, as I foretold!" Owl Death fell like an arrow and trapped the toad again in his claws but dropped it just as fast. "Yikes!"
"Take me!" Loneliness cried. "Take me with you. Take me to where Oblivion is!"
The Owl shook his head. "You are full of thorns Pain and thorns Sorrow. I won't eat you. You would taste to bitterness." He spread his wings and flew away.
"NO!" the toad wailed. "Take me to Oblivion! Take me to Oblivion!"
Sometimes the things we want and the things we need are not the same. We all have desires and we spend most of our life looking to fulfill them. Often things don't work as we expect or as we want. Sometimes it feels like all doors close around us and we don't see a solution. But often, we can't see a solution because we are blinded by our pain and sorrow or we are waiting for the solutions we want, instead of those we need.
I heard this story in my youth, precisely when I was playing dragon Loneliness, whose sickness was that of his name. I heard this tale from my mother, who heard it from her spiritual teacher. I don't know who the author is but this tale comes to my mind every time I feel all doors are closing around me; emotionally, financially or physically. Then, it is inevitable for me to think: I am missing a door, the door I need.
Maybe I am in the right path, but I'm focused on the wrong goal. I might have lost what I wanted. I did not get what I wished for. But this story reminds me of the importance of not diving too deep in sorrow and frustration.
When you get to feel all doors are closed, think of this tale. Remember if you give in to the impulse of hiding like a mole under the ground (seeking for Oblivion) you can miss the very thing you are needing. You will miss Hope, and most likely, the solution to your problem.
Did you like the marshmallows? Next tale we'll have popcorn with Tabasco sauce, very hot.