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THE RETURN VOYAGE
THE RETURN VOYAGE
Published by Mr. Veech
3 Weeks Ago
THE RETURN VOYAGE

THE RETURN VOYAGE

A PARABLE CONCERNING THE BENEFITS OF VIRTUE


The four were nearing the end of their long voyage. They had traveled across the sea, bringing with them a cure for the disease which plagued the village near the harbor. These were brave men, noble souls who were willing to risk their own lives for the sake of good. The four had endured countless hardships on their way back home. But there was one last trial they were to face – a mighty storm which threatened to destroy their ship, sending it to the bottom of the raging sea. The lighthouse, that beacon of hope, was to be their sole protector while they sailed through the darkness.

The ship’s captain stood on the deck of the vessel, searching eagerly for the light that was to guide them safely to the shore. His eyesight impaired by the relentless rain and the tempestuous winds, he feared the worst, that the lighthouse had perhaps retired from its duty. But there it was, shining ever so faintly through the great veil of darkness. The ship’s captain cried aloud, calling the other three to witness the steady glow of the lighthouse with their own eyes.

Together, the four of them rejoiced.

***

The keeper of the lighthouse ascended the spiral steps leading up to the summit of the tower. He carried with him the tin canister containing the oil used to refuel the lighthouse’s lamp each evening. Although very few ships in the past ever approached the hazardous rocks near the harbor, something told him that tonight was the night the four were to finally return from their crucial voyage. If he were to neglect his humble role as the lighthouse’s keeper, there was no chance of them safely navigating through the furious storm. The keeper quickened his pace at the thought of the four struggling against the sea.

He continued up the steps, the rain assailing the outer walls of the lighthouse. Once he arrived at the tower’s pinnacle, he swiftly climbed his way up the wooden ladder which led to the lighthouse’s lamp, the tin canister held between his teeth. He positioned himself, maintaining a steady grasp of the ladder with one hand, while retrieving the canister from his mouth with the other.

The keeper reached forward to refuel the lighthouse’s lamp. Before he could pour the oil a large rat suddenly fell onto his hand, sinking its teeth deep into his flesh. The keeper immediately let go of the ladder, plummeting to the ground below.

***

A heavy gloom suddenly descended upon the ship as the waves crashed against its deck, for the light which the four had seen appeared to have been swallowed by the darkness. The three shipmates turned to the captain, hoping that perhaps his steady eye had not lost sight of the lighthouse’s beacon. His disheartened face told them that the light had indeed been extinguished. They all waited, each one secretly praying for a miracle. But no light shone through the blackness.

There was talk of doom and futility regarding their mission, but the captain, his own bravery faltering, reminded everyone that they had already come so far; to abandon all hope so prematurely was unfitting for men who were used to withstanding the gravest dangers. The captain exhorted them to hold on for the sake of the villagers who desperately awaited their arrival. Besides, he further explained to his men, if they were not destined to reach their destination, then they surely would have perished a long time ago.

***

The keeper struggled to pick himself up from the stone floor. He searched eagerly for the tin canister while ignoring the damage done to his already feeble body. He discovered it lying on the ground a few feet from where he stood - right next to the lighthouse’s spiral steps. The keeper carried himself towards the container, reaching to pick it up. Before he had the chance to retrieve it, the rat, who had been waiting for the right opportunity, struck his ankle.

The lighthouse’s keeper instinctively grabbed a hold of the wound, losing his balance in the process. He tried to regain his composure; however, the keeper ended up slipping on the topmost step before tumbling all the way down the staircase.

His neck was snapped in two by the time he reached the base of the lighthouse.

***

The four grew restless.

They continued to wait amidst the mighty storm which refused to relent. No light, however, emerged from within the surrounding darkness. Certain that their own senseless deaths were imminent, the shipmates cursed aloud, knowing that they would never see their loved ones again. The captain, who was no longer capable of feigning resilience, remained completely silent, his face downcast. For a moment he was subjected to brooding thoughts concerning the meaning of their endeavor, for it seemed that their noble mission was merely a trivial episode of some evil providence.

The ship crashed against the jagged rocks. Nothing could be done. The vessel, which had once sailed so proudly, was torn apart from stern to bow. Although the shipmates bemoaned their impending deaths while the ship was ripped asunder, the captain had already resigned himself to his terrible fate, aware that only a miracle could have saved them, a miracle which he knew would never arrive.

The ship was swallowed by the raging sea, taking the four along with it. No one remembers their names or their noble attempt to save the lives of others, for the people who would have honored the four soon perished at the hands of the disease which plagued the village near the harbor.
4 Thanks From:
DarkView (2 Weeks Ago), miguel1984 (2 Weeks Ago), ToALonelyPeace (2 Weeks Ago), Zaharoff (2 Weeks Ago)
 

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