In my youth I had a great thirst to know things that other people didn’t know and didn’t care to know. After I had learned to understand the language of birds and other creatures, I had the sudden revelation that many things took place in the dark, invisible to mortal eyes. From that time onward, I felt that I could not rest until those hidden secrets were laid bare to me. I spent my whole time wandering from one wizard to another, begging them to open my eyes, but I found no one to help me.
Finally I reached an old magician called Mana, whose learning was greater than anyone else’s. Mana could tell me everything I wanted to know. But when the old man had listened attentively to what I was seeking, he gave me a warning:
“My son, do not follow after empty knowledge. It will not bring you happiness. Much is hidden from the eyes of men, because if they knew everything, their hearts would no longer be at peace. Knowledge kills joy, therefore think well about what you are doing, or some day you will regret it. But if you will not take my advice, then I will show you the secrets of the night. Only you will need more than a man’s courage to bear the sight.”
More than a man’s courage? I thrilled at the opportunity for such an adventure, and prepared myself to learn secrets that would terrify other people. Little did I know what they would turn out to be.
Youth in Search of Secrets, The Young Man Who Would Have His Eyes Opened, Violet Fairy Book. Illustration by H.J. Ford.