A long time ago in a small village far far away there was a young man named Pio who longed to travel and see the world outside his village but he'd never ventured beyond the village walls. And even though the idea of leaving the village was pretty daunting, he decided to do it anyway. So he saved up what little money he earned from the little shop where he swept up and lived. Finally, the day came and he set out early on his travels, leaving the village behind, carrying a blanket for warmth, a sack of fruit and nuts the shopkeeper had given him, and the few coins he'd saved.
As he waved good bye to his friends in the village, Pio felt excitement tinged with sadness but, determined to explore the world beyond the village, he walked on. After a half day of walking his village was no longer in sight behind him and, with nothing familiar in front of him, he became very afraid and could not take another step in either direction. So he sat down under a tree and pondered what to do.
About this time a rider on a fearsome black horse with eyes like burning coals approached him on the road. The rider was clad entirely in black, from his hat which obscured most of his face, to the cape wrapped around his body and down to the high leather boots in his horse's stirrups. At first Pio was very frightened but the rider spoke in such a soothing voice that he quickly lost his fear.
"Where are you headed?" asked the rider. "I've set out to see the world outside my village but can no longer see it and am afraid to go any further," Pio answered. The rider replied that the world is indeed a very terrifying place with all kinds of dangers awaiting unwary travelers and that they need to be very careful.
The rider explained to Pio that he had a magic hat that would take away its wearer's fear and that he would sell it to him so he's no longer afraid. Pio said that he had only a few coins but the rider said that would be enough so they made the exchange. Pio adjusted the hat on his head and when he looked up, the rider was gone.
Facing back towards his village and wearing the hat he felt his fear lessening so he began his walk back home, growing less afraid with each step he took. And when he reached his village his fear had completely gone and he felt safe again. Even though they wondered why he came back, everyone in his village was happy to see Pio again and his quiet, uneventful life resumed as if he'd never left it.
And that night as he settled back onto his straw sleeping mat on the shop floor, Pio thought to himself, "The world is indeed a very big, mysterious and dangerous place and it's wiser to stay here where it's familiar and safe." And with that thought, he drifted off into pleasant, dreamless sleep.
Next Time: PIO'S JOURNEYS WITH THEFEARMONSTER (Part Two)
Note to Readers: If you're not already familiar with blogs, they read from the most recent post down to the first one. As my posts are sequential, that is, one builds on the previous one and leads into the next, you might want to start with the earliest and move to the most recent.