There once was a man who hated the night.
He bumped into things and stubbed his toe
against things he could not see.
So, he decided to travel with the sun
and forever banish the dark.
At first dawn, he jumped onto his horse
and rode towards the brightening horizon.
He rode towards the sun,
that giver of life and light,
yelling, “I am coming, my friend.”
He rode all morning,
and as the sun grew higher,
he believed he was getting closer,
till it hung over his head
like a guillotine at noon.
Suddenly he was riding away from it;
it was going down behind his back.
So, he spun his horse around
and rode furiously to the descending sun
shouting, “I am coming, my friend; hold on.”
and he found himself home again in the dark,
bumping and stubbing and stumbling
and falling and crashing and wondering
how he had lost the sun.
The next day, he rode his horse hard
and rode back harder,
but it was of no use.
The sun evaded capture again
and he slept in the dark.
But as he slept, he dreamt,
and he dreamt of a brilliant plan.
He would ride away from the sun
and allow it to come to him
rather than he go chasing it.
And so, the next morning,
his horse’s hooves pounded the ground
leaving the rising sun behind.
For a while, he seemed to be winning,
but then came noon.
The sun was suddenly descending before his face,
and no matter how hard he rode,
it disappeared and left him in the dark.
He kicked and cursed in vain.
Tomorrow, he would ride harder.
But tomorrow repeated today,
and the day after the day before.
He rode for forty days over hills and rivers
with never a different result,
till his horse died and he could ride no more.
He threw his hands up in despair and cried,
“Will I never banish the night?
Will I never dispel the dark?”
In answer, he saw a light
cut through the forest.
He followed the light
and came upon a settlement,
where every dwelling carried
beautiful, shuddering, dancing lamps
on their doorsteps and in their windows
“Oh, pray tell, what this is” he rejoiced.
“I see everything, the houses and trees;
I see my hands in front of my face,
even though it is the darkest of nights.
How is this possible?”
“It is Deepavali,” he was told,
“where good vanquishes evil,
where light is victorious over dark.
Come, celebrate with us.
It is Deepavali.”