Once upon a time, there was an old, worn, recluse. He lived in a small cottage in a forest just north of town. Every night, he would go into the woods and sing an ancient folk tune and play his mandolin, his only precious heirloom. He would get a drink of water from the stream, eat the berries off of the shrubbery and stare into the night sky, looking at the twinkling stars and the moon. He would sleep during the day, and nobody would even notice his presence . . . nobody except for one woman. This woman was always restless and would never sleep at night. She would delight in hearing those folk songs that sounded like echoes from the past resonating in the halls of the present. One day, she went out to the forest at midnight to meet the wonderful musician who was the reason for her restlessness. Startled and nervous beyond belief, the recluse couldn’t even talk because he had not talked to a live human in at least a couple of years. He tried to form the words but just couldn’t, so he picked up his mandolin and sang a song of olden days. His voice was pure and yet still full of emotion, and the woman listened intently. The sounds of the song blended with the wind and the trees rattling as the woman laid her hands on his shoulders, but he turned away. He didn’t know better, but the woman began to cry, and he started to cry as well. They sat in the forest crying together about many things; crying tears of joy for the beauty of the music and the nature, and tears of suffering because of the language barrier.
The woman did not give up on him.
She started to give him wholesome food from the market in town and taught his voice to speak again. The old man’s family had left him long ago because he had been accused of being involved with black magic, but in reality he just wanted to make music. Soon he was nursed back to a state suitable for living in their society, but he refused to leave the forest. He made his home there and did not want to go away from the trees that comforted him when his parents didn’t.
The woman was persistent.
She advertised in the town of an ancient bard who can take their troubles away with one song, and soon the old man had a crowd before him, in front of his cottage in the forest. He softly began to play his folk tunes for the crowd until he heard a familiar voice cry out “Brother!” He froze, standing there in shock before he started to run to the sound source. The mayor of the town was reunited with his brother that his family had exiled and there was no trace of suffering in either of their hearts, no pangs of revenge, not a single angry word was spoken, only the most genuine of love. The audience was moved and erupted in a thunderous applause and the two brothers, the wife of the mayor brother, and the woman ruled the land with fairness, justice, music, and most of all, love.
I see the man in the forest in my life all the time, in my late guitar teacher, in my choir director, in the humble antisocial kid who is an amazing watercolor artist. I try to take to the principles of this man to heart. He was hard working, loving, infinitely forgiving, not afraid to show emotion, and self-sufficient. I also try to take to the values of the woman as she was appreciative of simplicity, and very perseverant. Most of all, I believe love and music can conquer all things.