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The Parable of the Volcano

The Parable of the Volcano

There was a village that lived at the edge of a dormant volcano. It rumbled occasionally, and people glanced at it warily, but for the most part their lives were safe and quiet.

Into this world was born a boy who discovered at an early age that he could sense the volcano. Without even trying, he could feel the heat and the lava lurking below the surface. He noted every shift of the land, and connected with the fiery power beneath his feet.

As time passed, he also began to realize that he could not only feel the flow of the lava around him, but he could control it as well. If he focused, he knew that he could cause flows of ash and heat to erupt from the cone. He might even be able to direct specific flows, bringing up magma from beneath the houses of his enemies.

Worse, he understood that he had also inherited some of the volcano’s natural fiery nature. Passion burned in him, and he felt the song of the lava calling to him. Waking up in the morning he could sense the fire and destruction, and as he lay down he felt it then too. He struggled, weeping at times with the effort. No one knew his struggles, though, and the village continued to live peacefully.

This arrangement continued for many years, but eventually the man who could control the volcano felt his resolve wearing down. He had resisted it long and his energy began to wane. He knew that if he continued walking this journey alone, he would eventually stumble and hurt those he loved. With their support, he believed that he would be revitalized, seen as a hero for the restraint he showed in saving their town.

So, one morning he assembled the people of the town and made his announcement. He explained his situation, the life he had lived and how he had struggled hard to keep himself from using the volcano’s power to harm anyone. He spoke of his exhaustion and his loneliness. He spoke, though, also of his resolve and love for them all. As he wrapped up his speech, he waited for their response.

At first there was stunned silence. Then, as the people started to realize he spoke truly, they muttered amongst themselves.

“He is dangerous,” some said, fear in their eyes. “With his own mouth he admitted the desire the volcano lays upon him. Some day his resolve will fail and we will all surely die!”

“He is evil,” others replied, their fury evident. “He could use this power to hold us hostage for his own gain, and then we would be too late. He must be killed!”

“There is no hope,” yet another group proclaimed, despair filling them. “He is proof that we will soon die. Why bother continuing to live when people such as he exist in our world?”

And so, despite the fact that he had lived decades resisting the volcano’s whispers of destruction, the man was rejected by those of the village. He was mocked and spit upon, insulted and threatened. The resolve he had shown for all that time was rewarded with an equal measure of scorn.

After a few weeks, he considered killing himself. Then he contemplated destroying the village. Eventually, he did neither. Instead, he packed up his most cherished belongings and fled to live somewhere else that the people did not know of the volcano’s place in his life.

“Perhaps,” he said to himself, “I shall no longer feel the lure of the volcano’s fire as I leave.”

It was not so, however, and he found solace nowhere. When he eventually laid his head down to rest the final time, he had kept his resolve to the end. None there knew of his sacrifice, though, and he was buried in a pauper’s grave.

Meanwhile, in the village by the volcano, another had been born with this odd power. He saw the fate of the first man connected to the fire. In fear for his own life and his position of power, he said nothing of his abilities. Time wore him down, though, and eventually his resolve failed. In a moment of fury and joy, he destroyed the village—including himself—with the volcano’s wrath.

Thus, the village’s misunderstanding doomed itself. For fear blinded them to the fact that to battle evil is not to be evil, and even the mightiest fighters need support.