He doesn’t even look up – just shrugs and continues working on a potion. “You people think magic is a fast car. Or a radio.Or something you buy in a big shop. Then you leave your grand houses and travel many, many days to come to me…wanting to know the secret of life. Hah! Some secret!”
Now he looks up, the look of scorn all too plain to see.
“The secret is not locked up in some book. It isn’t what somebody can show or tell you. It’s much more than that.”
He bends over the embers, blowing softly. “Ah, there you are, my good friend!” He points at the flame-figure that now hovers over the smouldering logs. “See, my flame – The Flame – is here. It’s the sun, understand? The sun knows everything and many years ago it gave life to this wood. Life…and the secret.”
He now sits down carefully, almost respectfully, to stare at the flames while chanting a tuneless song…or spell?
“Now look carefully. The secret isn’t something you must find. Like the sun in the wood, it’s always been there. But the cars and the money and the houses and the shops? You have too many things, my friend. You have so much, you become blind to what’s in here.” He thumps his chest. “Here!” He emphasises the point. “It’s always been inside you…”
Suddenly, the flames erupt in a display of sparks, rising up in the darkness of the night sky.
“See?” He sits back smiling, his job done. The secret, The Big One, explained in the most simple – yet complicated – manner.
When I leave, I thank him for his patience. He tells me that’s another part, another story. And that it’ll take time, but eventually I’d understand.