The Palace

“Father, why are the walls of this palace so great?”

“This palace has great walls to protect you against all evils,” he looked at the sky and said, “these walls are guarded by the god, and we must not disobey him, or he will get upset.”

“But I want to look what’s on the other side of the walls”

“Then you must be patient and seek guidance from your Lord, he knows what we don’t” 

My father died when I was eleven and my mother raised me in this magnificent place where everyone is wealthy and eats from the best. They wear silk clothes and drink in gold vessels, their faces are happy as they have nothing to worry. Rumours about the land on the other side have travelled far. Some say that it is a wicked place and whosoever went there never returned. While others say we must never cross the borders raised by the cherisher of the universe or his anger will burn this holy place and we will dwell in fire forever. But no story was frightening enough to stop me from dreaming about the land. I asked myself in the sleeping hours what bad could it bring to enter a piece of land like ours.

Then one night when all were dead asleep I took Albert and Leopold to help me escape. They bought a wooden stair for me to climb a certain height then I wrapped myself around the jut out bricks and climbed without looking back.

“We will pray for your safe return,” said Albert.

“You’re a good man and God will favour you,” said Leopold “and he will protect you against those without faith”.

I was very close to my dreamland hence I did not bother to spend time talking “I shall always remain in your debt for helping me, though you’ve no idea how important it is to me” I said, “by the will of the God, may we meet again”.

There was no establishment, as far I could see there was a wilderness of weeds and bushes. I kept walking into the dense forest in search of any human trace. Walking for days, when I finally reached a cave I saw people just like mine, lying there. They had swell faces and they coughed up blood. I never saw such illness before. I immediately walked away from that cave. I travelled miles and reached a village. There were children playing in the mud, their skin was wrapped on their thin bones and their ribs can be counted. They had no clothes to wear and no water to drink. I never saw such poverty before. Seeing such misery with my own eyes I looked at the sky, raised both of my hands in the air and said, “Listen to my prayer O Guardian-Lord and show me a way to help these people as you’re the most merciful”.

I knew I had to find my way back to my castle as I could not help these people on my own. So I started walking once again just this time I knew where I was going and what reaction I might receive. 

“Look, look he has returned,” said one man.

“I have a bad feeling of his return,” said another “why has he come back to this sacred place after he has indeed wronged himself by crossing the borders?”

And slowly people gathered around me, whispering about my false deeds.

“O my people, I have been to the land on the other side” I announced, “now that I’ve returned I am asking you to come with me”.

“Do you want us to be transgressors like you?” said one woman.

“We must not go with him,” said another elderly woman “he is a sinful man, he wants to lead us astray from the path of grace”.

“I saw there people dying because they have no medicine,” I said, “their children are starving because they have no food, their crops are dried because of no rain. Come with your food and medicine so we can help them. Come with me O believers to enlighten them with knowledge”.

“Who do you think we are, fools?” at last said Albert “you want to give away our food to evil-doers”

“Albert, my friend you believe in me, don’t you?”

“My Lord prohibits me to be friends with transgressors”

“This man brings misery to our couch,” said Leopold “he must return from where he has come as now he is among those who reject faith”

“O my people, have you forgotten when this land was dead and barren and by the mercy of  the God we could grow cucumbers, garlic, lentils and onion,” I said, “now it falls upon you to help these people, as your Lord helped you in times of misery.” 

“If God cannot help them, how can we?” said Albert “this man wants to snatch our peace and happiness as if he has been bewitched.”

“He must be punished for what he has done,” said some man “we must set an example out of him so that no-one else ever tries to break the limits set by our Lord.”

“He must be hanged,” said the elderly woman.

“He must be hanged,” said the crowd.

They tied me up and dragged me to the courtyard where they planned to hang me. I kept telling myself if I’m supposed to die today then I will die, I shall not be afraid to die as every born being has to die someday. Standing there I heard the sound of beating hammer getting louder every second, then the sky grew darker, and the clouds covered the sun, lightning struck the courtyard and snatched our sight, with the tremendous clap of thunder the sky burst. When I regained my sight the palace was on fire. People were running to save themselves from the flames and I heard the unbearable cries. In the matter of a few minutes, there were no pillars, no castle, no vegetation, no walls but dust everywhere. And there was me waiting to be hanged.

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