The Palace of Light

Javier: “Francisco.”
Francisco: “yes, Javi?”
Javier: “Can we take a break? My feet are sore.”
Francisco: “No, just a little farther we are almost there.”
Javier: “You said the same thing more than five kilometers ago.”
Francisco: “Javi, have you ever tried to stare into the sun?”
Javier: “When I was little, but I had to quickly look away.”

Francisco: “There once was a lover of the light, a wealthy ruler that lived in a beautiful palace just beyond the sea. The long bright days of summer filled his life with joy, but as the days grew shorter, so did his cheerful mood. The colorful fall ushered in a particularly harsh winter, of the likes the kingdom had never seen before. Thick clouds covered the sun, refusing to allow her to as much as peak through. The ruler quickly developed a sadness that consumed him. The absence of light filled his heart with darkness.
After many weeks of darkness, one of his loyal subjects approached him at his throne and told him of an inventor who had discovered how to harness the power of light. The ruler sent for the inventor, to inquire of this power. When the inventor arrived, he approached the throne. Standing before the king, he pulled from his satchel a small sphere no larger than his fist, that carried enough light to fill an entire room. The ruler marveled at the invention and offered to pay the inventor a chest full of gold for the orb of light. The inventor, a kind man, looked upon the despair of the ruler and gave him the light for free. The ruler jumped for joy as he placed the light in the throne room of the castle where everyone who approached could see.
With the return of light, the joy of the king overflowed. He threw a feast to celebrate a new season of light. After the party, the ruler sent for the inventor and asked that lights be made for all the rooms in the palace. The ruler was elated as he admired his beautiful palace. The exquisite architectural design, the vivid colors of the artwork and the remarkable craftsmanship of the statues and decorations all enhanced by the heightened illumination.
The following day as the ruler sat on his throne, he noticed something that bothered him. The light in his large throne room did not reach all the corners as it did in the smaller rooms of the palace. The king tried to ignore it, but he could not stop focusing on the small dark edges. He sent for the inventor and inquired if anything could be done to better light the large rooms. The inventor returned a week later with a lights brighter than the others.
All throughout the kingdom spread word of the palace of light. Nobleman travelled from far and wide to witness for themselves the grandeur of the lights. While others basked in the light, the ruler only noticed little fragments of darkness where light didn’t quite reach and the somber shadows cast by visitors and the decorations that adorned his castle. Despair soon began to stifle his joy, until it became suffocating. Surrounded by light, he was engrossed in darkness. He became obsessed with covering every inch of the palace with precious light. He removed every last item from his castle and forbade anyone from entering. The king sent for the inventor and demanded that he create brighter lights. Each time as the amount of light increased he felt fleeting happiness that was swiftly replaced with contempt.
The shipment of new lights arrived every Wednesday at 8am. However, this time was different. The shipment was much smaller. There was only one small box. Enraged and intrigued, the ruler took the small box inside. As he lifted the lid to the box he beheld the most beautiful light he had ever seen. A light so bright that it rivaled the brilliance of the sun. As he gazed upon the light, delightful memories flooded his mind. The warmth of the sun kissing his skin as he laid atop of dew laden grass. The blossoming light of morning slowly climbing the mountains and flooding the valley. The sun in her shimmering red nightgown diving into the sea. Then suddenly, everything went dark.
The ruler called for his servants, but there was no one to hear his cry. Enveloped in darkness, he stumbled his way to the palace door. As he pushed open the palace doors he felt something peculiar touch his skin. Peculiar, yet familiar and unmistakable. Like hearing the voice of your mother after many years away from home. He exited the palace, the doors slowly closing behind him. “Could this be?”, the ruler thought to himself.
The sun had returned and the ruler knew not of her advent. “How long ago did she return?”, he questioned. This thought quickly washed away as the king felt the grass bend beneath his feet. He laid down and focused on the warmth of the sun’s caress diffusing from his arms and legs, to his torso, and ultimately circulating to his heart. The king felt something that he had not felt in a very long time.”

Javier: “What was it that he felt?”
Francisco: “Joy, true and lasting joy.”
Francisco: “You see little brother, when one focuses on darkness that is all they will find.”
Javier: “But in the story all the ruler wanted was more light?”
Francisco: “Yes, but all he saw was the dark. It wasn’t until he experienced complete darkness that he could once again focus on the light he had already been given.”
Francisco: “Quick, we need to hide!”
[Trucks roll across the desert in the distance]
Javier: “Why did we have to leave mom and dad behind?” [Javier Whispers]
Francisco: “I know it's tough, but don’t focus on that. Didn’t you learn anything from the story?”
Javier: “yes” [Javier whimpers as he wipes away a single tear]
Francisco: “Good! The coast is clear, and now that you got your break, we can keep moving.”