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A young boy overheard his father talking about a road that led to success.
“Please, Father, point me in the right direction,” he said. “I want to be a success!”
“The road is a day’s walk past the forest. It is steep, my son. It has cliffs and sharp edges. You must wait until you are ready.”
The boy retreated to his room, undeterred. During the night, he searched his legs and found the strength to walk. In his hands he found a strong grip. By morning he had grown in size. He packed bread, cheese and water and set off on his journey.
It took the boy a day to reach the forest but no road crossed his path. He pushed on for three days and nights until his legs shrunk back to their normal size and his hands shook with fatigue, thirst and hunger. He felt as small as the pebbles that grazed his feet. I must return before I starve, he thought. He turned back the way he came, drinking from streams and feasting on berries that hardly quenched his appetite. Anger tared at him and he cursed at the lie that was success. It doesn’t exist, he thought. The whole thing is a sham.
When the boy arrived home, he found his father seated beside the window.
“It’s a lie, Father. There is no road that leads to success. All there is is the blisters on my feet.”
His father turned to the boy. “You are sure, my son?”
“Tell me about your journey.”
“It was a flat, dusty path, Father. No steep road, no dangerous cliffs. I turned back as soon as I realised success did not exist.”
The boy’s father got up with a small smile. “You were on the right road.”
“But it can’t be! You said there would be cliffs!”
“Your doubts are the cliffs in your mind, my son.”
The boy nodded, trying to understand.
“The road to success begins when you overcome them.”
Happiness arrived on a day when the sun lit up the world. She saw it approach from her lounge room window.
“Where have you been?” she said. Her hair was the white of winter and years had weathered her hands.
Happiness buzzed and flickered above her head and she tried to catch it with her cane.
It laughed, and the sound made her insides tremble with joy.
“You’ve come to stay?” she said.
Happiness shone from her ceiling like stars. “My dear,” it said, “I never left.”