“C’mon slowpoke! Let us find this Hermit and find out if he has this Will I am told by the Magician I need.”
Barking excitedly his little white dog raced past him chasing a butterfly into a field. The Fool laughed with sheer delight as he joined his dog in the tall green grass.
“Well this is nice, isn’t it. Let us lie here for a while, my friend. Surely the Hermit doesn’t need us this very moment.”
So the Fool laid down. He closed his eyes only for a moment but when he woke, the sun was long gone from the sky. The sky ranged inky black above him with stars glittering like tiny diamonds here and there.
Frantically the Fool leapt to his feet. “Oh no! What shall I do! Without the sun’s light, I don’t know where the road is. Help! Help!”
Shouting for aid, the Fool ran in circles with his dog at his heels. Tears streamed down his face as he realized he was alone in the middle of a meadow. “What if there are wild animals? What if we are not far enough away from the lady and her lion eats us? Oh oh oh! What am I to do?”
His dog stared at him for a moment then gave him a lick on his hand as if to tell him it would be ok. Then the dog began to bark. The Fool looked into the dark where the dog gave the cry and saw a light shimmering. As he watched, the light bobbed up and down moving away from his position.
He leapt to his feet whistling for the dog to follow. “I say! There is someone with a light. Let us find him. Surely he can help us find this Hermit or at least a place to sleep where wild animals will not eat us.”
Swiftly the Fool followed the light. Relentlessly the light moved forward as if pulled by some strong magnet. The Fool stumbled in the dark but pressed on. Finally he was close enough to see the source of the light. It was a lantern.
“Hello! Can you help me?” The Fool called out.
The bearer of the lantern turned. “Hello young Fool. I’m so glad you’ve found me. Come walk with me a while.”
The Fool turned his head to one side until his hat tipped giving his bells a merry jingle. “How did you know my name? Am I looking for you?”
The old man ran his hand through his beard and laughed. He said not another word until the Fool blurted out, “Are you the Hermit?”
The Fool puzzled this out a bit. “Oh! You mean you can only speak when I ask a question?”
“Exactly.” The old man nodded as he turned back to his path. A deer kept pace with them just on the edge of the shadows cast by the lamp.
“Why is there a deer with us?” The Fool blurted out.
“The deer is to remind me that I am guide to all things and all things are guide to me. As they learn from me, so do I learn from them.
The Fool glanced at the deer. How odd to think an animal could teach a wise old man something. “So do you have the Will I am supposed to seek.”
“Well, my dear Fool, I can say yes I have it and no I don’t.”
“What? Do you have it or not, sir Hermit?” The Fool felt tired so he was a bit sharper than he should have been but the Hermit just smiled again.
“What I mean is that I have Will but I don’t have your Will. You must continue to seek it.” The Hermit patted the little dog at the Fool’s feet.
The Fool huffed in dismay. “If you don’t have it, where shall I look next, Hermit? Can you guide me?”
“Ah Fool, yes I can! There is a Wheel in the next clearing that you should visit. Why don’t you sleep here for a bit.” The Hermit indicated a small hut suddenly in sight. “I shall wake you to send you on your way at first light. I’ll even make sure you have a good breakfast. Now off to bed you go.”
Having no more questions and being more than a little tired, the Fool sank into the first pile of comfortable blankets trusting the Hermit to wake him in the morning.
To be continued…