I grew up on stories and legends. I remember the well-worn book of fairy tales that I kept under my pillow, and I loved The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle.

I cherished the idea that not all the magic was yet gone from the world, and that some of those unthinkably majestic creatures might still survive (even in some out-of-the-way, long-forgotten place). The belief-altering eye resonated…

“I suppose I could understand it if men had simply forgotten unicorns or if they had changed so that they hated all unicorns now and tried to kill them when they saw them. But not to see them at all, to look at them and see something else — what do they look like to one another, then? What do trees look like to them, or houses, or real horses, or their own children?”

How many times have we (as children, or even adults) seen something that was then completely discounted? What, then, was the reality of those just-out-of-sight sightings?

I wanted to believe, and I’m quite certain I’m not the only one…

But, if writing (and life) has taught me anything at all, it’s that there’s a time for everything. Even when we wish most fervently that it were not so the story progresses in a certain way. While we fantasize about the other possible tracks a story might take, there’s a time to be born, a time to die, and heroes must find a place for their heroics, amid all the rest of the plot elements.

“Quests may not simply be abandoned; prophecies may not be left to rot like unpicked fruit; unicorns may go unrescued for a very long time, but not forever. The happy ending cannot come in the middle of the story.”

We may fly in the face of everything we hold most holy. We may wish for that happy ending at the beginning of the story…

It’s also possible that the happy ending that we wish for is not even really possible. By the time we reach that part of our story, we may discover that too much has changed in our pursuit. As with Tolkien’s Middle-Earth adventures, the heroes know that the journey will be difficult, and they will likely fail, but they start out anyway.


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