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This story was originally published in "Wings" magazine.

There once was a mountain pass that wound upwards for many torturous miles above the floor of the valley in the Lands of Darkness. At the summit, it crested abruptly and led gently downwards into the Lands of Light, or so it was believed.

Columns of people without end struggled up the pass. Their worldly possessions were piled upon themselves and every conveyance imaginable.

At the very summit they were confronted by a sign that read, "You may take only that which is truly of value beyond this point." So they sat everywhere, amid the mounds of their belongings, frustrated, desperate, and dejected.

"I left everything except for my last few sacks of gold," said one.

"I have only my very best clothes," complained another.

"I cannot leave my jewels," added a third.

"Why can't we leave most of our possessions and come back for them later?" asked a fourth, who had just recently arrived.

"Who would guard them?" said a wealthy merchant perched high upon the mass of his belongings, spreading his arms helplessly.

As more and more people arrived at the top, the crowd and mounds of belongings grew and grew. The same questions were asked, the same discussions ensued, the same conclusions were drawn.

"No one has ever passed beyond and come back. Perhaps there is nothing there. How can I be asked to decide what is important and what isn't? If I leave my goods behind I have no assurance that I will get more in what lies ahead."

And so they ranted and raved for many days or weeks before finally giving up and slinking back down the pass.

One day a young man strode up the path carrying only a small bag over one shoulder. As he reached the sign, he smiled, dropped his pack on the ground along with his simple robe, and walked forth into the Light.

-- Alan Grey Wolf

This story is used to form the basis of spiritual insight taught in Alan Grey Wolf's classes and workshops.

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Last updated May 1, 2020

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