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Oliver D. Bernuetz's Stories

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The child sat and shivered, crying in the dark, afraid of things she could hear but could not see.
Her father came and asked her, "Why do you cry so child?"
The child answered, "I am afraid of the dark, father, and that which does hide in it and that which may hide in it."
Her father said, "Fear not child, for I will light a lantern for you to dispel the darkness."
And taking a large lantern he hung it in the window of his palace and the darkness was indeed dispersed.
For a long time the lantern lit up the child's playground banishing the darkness and the child was not afraid.
And she played and skipped and was joyful, playing in the light.
But then the lantern went out and the child was afraid anew.
So again the child huddled and shivered, crying in the darkness.
Her uncles found her and asked her, "Why do you cry so child?"
"I am afraid of the dark, uncles."  she replied, "And that which hides in it, unseen."
Her uncles said, "Fear not child we will light lanterns and dispel the darkness.
Saying so they took lanterns and hung them in the windows of their high fortresses.
But their fortresses were so remote and the lanterns in their windows looked so tiny that while they made the sky look beautiful they did not dispel the darkness.
The child played timidly, flinching and shying at every noise and every shadow.
Her mother came then and said, "Why are you fearful, child?"
"I am afraid of the dark, mother." she replied, "And that which hides in it."
Her mother said, "There is that which is to be feared hiding in the darkness, my child.
But I shall light a lantern by which the darkness will be illuminated.
Saying this the child's mother took her red lantern and hung it in her window.
The red lantern did not banish the darkness but it did light the shadows.
The child was still fearful of the dark, but her fear was now tempered by understanding.
And she knew that she would see true by her mother's light.

This story was inspired by a children's story, "Can't You Sleep, Little Bear?"
by Martin Waddell.   I strongly recommend Mr. Waddell's work if you have children.

May 1999 Oliver D. Bernuetz.  Minor modifications March 13, 2000 

Last updated October 07, 2016

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