The Boy with a Heart of Gold

In a faraway land, on the edge of the world, lived a boy named Chen. He was no ordinary boy. Chen was born with the gift of seeing into people’s hearts.

He himself had a heart of gold that made him want to help anyone he could, and very soon the legend of Chen-the-kind-hearted spread far and wide.

He was a beautiful boy, with laughing eyes, and he spread joy to every person he encountered. Since he could read people’s hearts, he saw a lot of pain and sorrow, and with his loving nature, tried to help everyone.

As the years went by and Chen grew into a splendid young man, that wonderful glow that emanated from him began slowly to fade. Burdened with the sorrows of so many people, he was losing his life force.

Not many noticed. Only his beloved Grandmother saw the change in her cherished grandson who, she always knew, was a gift from heaven, and whom she had to protect at all costs.

One evening, before sunset, she walked into his room. She could barely see his silhouette against the fading crimson light. By now Chen had become almost invisible. He stood by the window, his hand on the head of his faithful dog, his greatest friend and companion, Kita.

‘You must go into the forest’, said his Grandmother. ‘If you don’t, you will disappear and all the love you have to give will be lost. Go deep into the woods and do not be afraid. Take Kita, she will lead you.’

Grandmother held Chen’s hand and carried on speaking: ‘Pay close attention to everything you see and hear, and when you think you can speak the language of the woods, it will be the time of your healing.’

‘But before you return home, you must find the wise woman who will appear to you in the shape of a white owl. If she does not, it will mean that your gift cannot be restored. If she does, you have been blessed forever.’

‘I will wait for you my dearest Chen,’ said his Grandma and left the room.

Alone, with Kita’s head on his lap, Chen fell into deep thought. He felt the ticking of time and the murmur of the forest that surrounded the town.

When night came, Chen left, wrapped in his Grandmother’s love like a warm shawl. Kita was close by, eager to begin the adventure. She was a big, strong dog and her confidence was all Chen needed.

Before long, he found himself among the trees.

He stopped for a while, and remembering his Grandmother’s words, listened to the forest. The leaves rustled and swished but to Chen it sounded more like whispering. And the more he listened, the more he understood what the trees were saying as they carried on their quiet conversation.

The moss under his feet was soft and silky, and it felt as though he was walking on a magnificent carpet. Kita, too, seemed fascinated by her surroundings, and keeping close to Chen, she twitched with excitement.

With each step he took, Chen felt stronger and stronger. And the farther he went into the forest, the more voices spoke to him.

And then Kita growled and Chen froze in his tracks. A dark shape was making its way towards them. It was approaching very slowly, and Chen blinked a few times to make sure he was not seeing things.

Kita took a step forward, her ears close to her head, but did not leave Chen’s side, as the strange shape approached.

And then, emerging from the shadow, it spoke in a raspy voice. “Welcome to my kingdom,” said the wolf, for that’s what the dark shape turned out to be.

Kita stopped growling. Chen patted the wolf’s head gently and asked him if he knew where the wise woman lived.

The wolf closed his eyes for a moment and then turned, beckoning Chen to follow. But as soon as they stepped into the shadow of the trees, the wolf disappeared. Uncertain what to do next, Chen thought again of his Grandmother’s words. “Kita will lead you,” he heard her say.

As if reading his mind, the dog tugged at him, and they continued on their journey, unaware they were heading home. Without knowing it, Chen had ventured into the very heart of the forest, and now there was only one way out, and it lead straight to his Grandmother.

The trees whispered encouragement, and the forest creatures accompanied Chen and Kita from a distance. They walked for a long, long time, and Chen was getting very tired. But Kita would not let him rest, urging him on.

And then a rustling came from high above, and leaves showered down on Chen and the dog. With a great flutter of her enormous wings, a beautiful white owl alit on a branch, her golden eyes fixed on them.

“Can you hear my thoughts?” she asked Chen, and her voice was as clear as crystal. He smiled in response, that same beautiful smile that brought so much joy to so many people, and nodded.

Without another word, the owl rose in the air and was gone, and at Chen’s feet lay a single white feather.

Suddenly, he could see the path that led him into the woods, and filled with incredible energy, ran with Kita all the way home.

The sun was just rising, painting the landscape in mauve and pink. Chen’s Grandmother stood in the doorway of the house and Kita was the first to reach her, jumping and yelping with happiness. Behind the dog, Grandmother saw Chen, his eyes sparkling with joy, his beautiful heart shining through, spreading a shimmering aura around him.

He hugged his Grandmother with all his strength, and then handed her the white feather. “I am back,” he said.

And everyone far and wide rejoiced.

 

The End

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