old-man-burden

The Old Man and The Burden

On my fifteenth birthday, I was walking home from school. I chanced a small wagon with an old man. No horses to drive it, just there, as if it be his house. A small dog tied on a leash to the wheel, looking tired and sad.

“Can you avail me? I need help lifting a heavy burden,” he asked.
What kind of burden, may I ask?
“A chest,” he responded. “Filled with lost dreams.”
Have you not found the key to unlock it? I thought.

Before I could ask it of him, he said:
“I have many keys, but none can open this lock.”
Why not? I said with uncertainty.
“Because I do not know the correct key to use.
The lock changes so fast, I can’t keep up. Will you not try?”

Why think you I could do what you could not?
“Because you have seen The Old Lady Of The Tree and heard the voice of the Wolf. Your eye reveals it.”
She helped me find my way home once, I said, I have not encountered her again.
There are many things I have not seen and been at a misfortune for it. I said.

“Some things seen once, are enough,” he said. “Seeing them again is not needed.
Will you not try ?” he asked again.
I will try once, but with one key.

This entry from the Contessa’s letters ends simply with “I chose one of the keys, put it in the lock, turned it and the chest opened. The old man was overjoyed as he thanked me. “I may have opened the chest, I said to him in parting, but I have done little to lift your burden.”

old-man-burden