The Elf shifted uncomfortably, the rain was cold and soaked him. “I’m okay,” he thought to himself. “The bitter wind is blocked by West Wall. As a follower of Wall I am safe for the wind cannot touch me.” He huddled cold and wet wishing the rain would stop.

Out in the forest a small Sprite trembled, chilled by the cold and fighting the force of wind that sought to blow her out into the rain. “I’m okay,” she thought to herself. “The rain cannot soak me because I am protected by Roof, as a follower of Roof I am protected from the rain.”

As the shadows lengthened the gloom of darkness settled in and both Elf and Sprite wished for any warmth and cheeriness. The dark was frightening and it seemed each moment became colder.

Down near the glen a Wood Nymph sat huddled by a small sputtering fire. She trembled as the wind made being wet even more uncomfortable and she fought the wind and rain to keep her fire burning. "I’m okay," she thought to herself. "I sit in a circle of light safe from the darkness and warm. As a follower of Fire I am safe from the dark and the cold.”

A Gnome sat by a large rock clinging to his tote sack of tools. “I’m okay,” he thought to himself. “I have tools and skills. As a follower of Craft I am safe for I can adapt to this world.”

A small Night Faerie watched the four knowing they would never agree to work together, never accept the others’ beliefs. She followed the Unicorn and, as did all Unicorn followers, had the gift of sight. She knew the storm was gathering strength and would get much worse. She called to the unicorn asking advice and guidance. The unicorn came and looked at those she worried for. He looked at her, his eyes swirling in puzzlement. “They have all they need. Why do they not put their gifts together?” he asked.

The Faerie sighed, “Each feels they have the one TRUE gift and that the others are foolish. None will compromise.” She shook her head sadly, “they feel the same to me, say I am misguided, that faeries and unicorns are not real. They won’t hear me either.”

The Unicorn pondered the problem. They were all of the same forest, yet each felt they were so superior. “How sad they refuse to see they each hold a part of the greater whole,” he said to the Faerie. He turned and began to walk away. “Can we not help?” begged the Faerie. The Unicorn turned and nodded, “I will require help,” he said. “I go to ask now.”

The storm worsened. It seemed as if the wind whipped around Elf’s wall hitting him from both sides. It drove the rain under Sprite’s roof soaking her to her soul. It doused Wood Nymph’s fire and would not allow her to relight it. It banged Gnome’s tool sack against him bruising him.

As Elf sat wondering if Wall had decided to punish him he heard a second wind, like a great pair of wings and turned to find he was face to face with a Dragon! “I’ll take your wall,” Dragon announced. “My Wall? Why? It’s all I have,” implored Elf. “NOW!!!” roared dragon. With that he took to the sky with Wall. Next the Dragon visited Sprite, Nymph, and Gnome. When he left he took Roof, Fire, and the tools that were Craft.

The Dragon took each of his treasures back to Faerie and Unicorn. When he brought the last he looked at the two and told them to go and return with the others. “I don’t care how you do this,” the Dragon said. “Only do it!” The Unicorn and Faerie looked at each other, the four would never join each with the other, get along. But one does not argue with a dragon, so they went.

When they had left the Dragon looked at Wall. “West Wall I see. But I know you are four; North, South, East, and West. I command you all four stand open.” At the Dragon’s words all four appeared and stood forming a large four walled enclosure.

Next the Dragon looked at Roof. “You think to float I see. But I know a roof is only a cap, anchored to the top of walls. I command you to cap these four walls.” At the dragon’s words Roof settled over the four walls and anchored securely.

Now the Dragon focused on the tools that were Craft. “You hide in a sack. But I know the true value in Tools and Craft is in what can be made. I command you make windows with strong shutters and a stout door. I command you make a sturdy stone fireplace and hearth." At the dragon’s words the enclosure became a large cottage with a stout door and strong shutters against the storm.

When he was satisfied the Dragon called to Fire. “You think to prove you stand alone. But I know you need to be both contained and sheltered. I command you to the fireplace.” At the dragon’s words Fire glowed brightly from the fireplace making the cottage cheery and warm.

Finally the Dragon turned to the four, just arriving with Faerie and Unicorn. “You may have your gifts back,” he said. “How?” they asked. “We cannot get them apart.” The Dragon smiled, “Then stay here.”

“Here? With THEM!?” each cried. "CANNOT, NOT POSSIBLE!!” And the arguing, the pointing, the accusing began.

“ENOUGH!!!!” roared the dragon. There was a stunned silence. “You each have only part of the whole picture. Look at the whole truth or suffer the storm. You must all keep your gifts in the whole or you will all suffer the storm.”

Each looked with opened eyes, Dragon was correct and they were stunned. A Dragon that helps? A real faerie and a real unicorn? How could this be? They looked at the dragon. “What do we call you? How do we thank you?” they asked.

“You may thank me by remembering that you are each a part of the same whole. Remember that you must work together,” the Dragon said softly. “Hold in your hearts as true that you need never see for it to be real.” Dragon now smiled, “Know always things may not be as they seem.”

The four began to speak to each other, to really listen. The Faerie turned back to the Dragon to ask it’s name. As if to answer the unspoken question the Dragon vanished, replaced by a wisp of silken mist lit by a sprinkle of stardust. A silvery laughter answered their stares and a soft voice rippled within the mist before it vanished, “My name? Tolerance.”

© Candace 5/8/07

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the music ~*~ That Place In Your Heart ~*~
Leslie Dowdall

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