• "No! Please, I have done nothing wrong!" the young man pleaded to the stone faced guards. They ignored his pleas and threw him in the jail cell. The last light the thief would see slipped away as the soldiers closed the iron door. The thief begged and pleaded for hours and then he remained silent. He had started to think how he got into this mess.

    He had robbed the house of a rich nobleman, stole a glorious necklace, amoung other things, and was succesful in escaping without creating a scene. But when the young thief attempted to sell it at a general goods shop, the shopkeeper recgonized it and alerted the guards. The thief was caught and sentenced to life in a sealed jail cell.

    No windows, no light, the thief started to go crazy, only getting enough food to live, barely. He lived in the darkness and the entire cell was pitch black.

    One day, he counted the days by how many meals he recieved which was two a day, the thief was sobbing again when an old scratchy voice spoke across from him, "Quit your blubbering! It makes me sick. Be a man and suck it up! You're stuck here, just like me and everyone else!" The thief ceased his cries of woe and listened to the voice coming from across him.

    "Listen, I know it seems like this old fool is speaking giberish but the only way to not go mad in here is to imagine the outside. Think of vast oceans, endless meadows, and beautiful forests." the voice scratched. "Do you see it boy?" it asked.

    The young thief pictured in his mind's eye a small cottage at the end of small forest with clear blue skies. He saw a woman, a small boy, no more than four, and a small infant resting in the woman's slim arms. The woman was beautiful; with her flowing brown hair, enchanting turcoise eyes, and silky skin, flawless in its perfection.

    He awakes from his wonderful site to the darkness of the cell. "Yes, I saw my home, and my family awaiting my return with money. I was going to pay off our land and become a farmer. But that snake nobleman had our loan due by the next day we had the land! So, I tried to steal something valueable from him to pay off the loan and teach him a lesson! But my plan has backfired and I won't see my family again. There is no hope now..." he said, his voice trailing off.

    The old man's voice broke through the darkness again. "Hope is always there! It's when you abandon hope that it fades away". it spoke with wisdom and joy. The young thief was surprised by such logic. But more or less, it was the truth.

    Days passed, neither the theif or the old man knew how many, when suddenly guards started to scream and cry in agony, as if though they were dying. The young thief and old man stood up. A clank and screech of the lock and door opening gave light into the darkness of the cell. A torch light appeared along with many armored men that were not the same soldiers from before.

    A soldier with fancier armor then the rest of the others, took off his helmet and spoke, "General Kent, we are here to rescue you!" He kneeled to the old man and held out a silver blade of true beauty. The general looked at the young man next to him. "It's like I said boy, hope is always there." He smiled. "Now come on! Let's get out of this hell hole!"

    They reached the forest where the young man's family was awaitng his return. The general said cheerfully "Please, take this." A sack of gold, plenty to pay the loan, was placed in the young man's hands. The man had looked confused. "But why give this gracious offer to me?" The old war veteran laughed. "Because you are the only person besides me to have lasted more than a day in that prison. Most of the new arrivals would kill themselves from being in the darkness for too long. But you were the only one who listened and never abandoned hope!" he said with admirration.

    The young man graciously thanked the general for his generous offer. Before they parted, the general whispered to the young man, "Do you wish to know a secret?" The young man look confused and listened curiously.

    "I am blind."