28th July

So They Came to the Door

They had walked for many hours, and were tired and hungry, and fearful that it would soon be dark. Therefore they were gladdened when the path left the forest and became a broad red road. They walked on until the road divided to the west and to the east. And before them was a wall, too steep and too tall for them to climb, which stretched as far as they could see in both directions. So, not knowing which way to go, they sat down beside the road and rested.

In a while an old man in ragged clothes came towards them from the east. He had sandals on his feet and a staff in his hand. When he came up to them he asked why they had sat down.

‘Because we are weary,’ they said. ‘And we have come to the wall and do not know which way to go.’

‘Go the way I came,’ he said, ‘and you will come to a door in the wall. If you walk with courage it is not far, but if you walk in fear you will never reach it.’

Then he went down the red road towards the forest, and they watched until they could no longer see him.

Then they too set off, walking beside the wall the way the old man had come. And the wall was unbroken by any door, and the one took the hand of the other so that they would not be afraid. It was late yet the day did not grow dark.

Then the one said to the other, ‘I see the door,’ but the other did not see it. Yet it was there.

So they came to the door, and stood before it. And there was no handle or latch on the door. And the one who had not seen the door knocked, and it did not open. And the one who had seen it pushed, and it opened. And they went in together, hand in hand, not knowing what they would find on the other side. And the door closed behind them.

The old man in the forest heard the door close, but he was not afraid.

Reader: Jennifer Hartland
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
Piano: Kit Downes
Subscribe here for more stories & music