The Climb

 

A young man was out walking one day. As he was walking, he stopped to rest. He found a rock to rest on that was positioned at the foot of a mountain. He sat down and looked up towards the top of the mountain. As he was looking up, he saw a flicker of light at the top of the mountain. The young man was intrigued.

What could that flicker be?

Anything was better than the life he had.
The young man was a poor man born into a world of violence and hatred. A world where his people were murdered for no reason, condemned to poverty, and constantly reminded of how hopeless their lives were. A challenging climb up a steep mountain couldn’t be any more brutal than the world he faced every day.

A world where death sometimes was more attractive than life.

The young man made his decision on the spot. He decided to climb the mountain to see what that flicker of light at the top had to offer. He said a prayer, gathered himself, and started his climb. He was poor, so he had no equipment, only his bare hands, and feet. The young man climbed and climbed. As he started to fatigue, he stopped and rested his head on the mountain.

As he was resting, a rock struck him from above. Then another rock hit him, and then another. The young man looked up to see a small man being carried up the mountain in a harness. The small man laughed as he threw rocks down at the young man.

It was apparent he was attempting to make the young man fall. The small man didn’t have to climb on his own because someone pulled him on top of the mountain. As the small man was pulled up the mountain, he started to lose his focus, and the rocks he was throwing could no longer hit their target.

Eventually, the small man got so high he just stopped throwing rocks.

This moment motivated the young man to climb faster. His strength was renewed because although he was tired and hurt from being hit with rocks, he knew he had to make it to the top of the mountain or fall back to his old life on the ground.

The young man climbed higher and higher. As he rose, he was getting exhausted. His hands were cramping from the strenuous climb, and his feet were tired from holding up his body weight as he balanced on small ledges in his journey to the top. He found a small aperture for his feet to rest, and he rested his head again. As he looked to his side, he saw other people climbing the mountain beside him. They were using climbing equipment and helping each other get ahead by using each other for leverage. They were quickly making progress with less work, and as they climbed past the young man, all they did was look and wave.
No one reached out to give the young man a hand even though they had the equipment and the manpower to do so.

This motivated the young man even more. With anger in his eyes, he climbed faster and faster, and he was moving too fast. As he got higher and higher, he looked down.

Big mistake.

The minute he looked down, he instantly became dizzy. The view of how high he was from the ground made him sick, and fear entered his entire body. He clutched onto the mountain. Tears streamed down his cheeks. He was too far to quit now, and he was too high up to let go.
At this point in his journey, he was faced with two choices, success or death.

The young man gathered himself, and he climbed on. As he got closer to the top, he saw the people with the equipment. He noticed their equipment could only get them so far, and since they had never climbed on their own, they didn’t have the strength to finish the journey. They held on to each other for support but could not progress any further.

The young man climbed on.

He climbed higher and higher. As he neared the top, he saw the small man throwing the rocks clutching onto the mountain. He was scared and shaking. The harness that held him was tattered and ripped. The rope that led to the top was torn and now hung down the side of the mountain. It was evident the small man had never climbed a day in his life, and now all he had the strength to do was hold on desperately to the mountain.

The young man climbed on.

He finally reached the top of the mountain. He grabbed hold of the ledge and pulled himself up. As he got his whole body up and onto the flat surface, he just laid on the ground to rest. His hands and feet were swollen and bloody, and his body was exhausted.

He physically was near death, but he made it to the top.

After he recovered a little bit, he sat up and looked around. The young man saw an older man on the edge of the mountain wedged onto a rock with a broken piece of rope around his waist. The rope hung over the side of the mountain, and the older man laid dead with his hands bloodied from rope burns.

The young man walked over to the older man’s body. He followed the path of the broken rope and looked over the edge of the mountain. As he looked over the edge of the mountain, he saw the small man throwing rocks right below the broken rope. The young man shook his head and turned towards the light he had worked so hard to reach. The light was no longer flickering but in a full glow. The young man had reached the top, but now he had to face what awaited him.

The young man was fearful, but he walked toward the glow. As he got closer, he saw that it was a tree. The tree had golden leaves that hung from long branches which reached high into the sky. The glow from the trunk of the tree caused the golden leaves to flicker. The tree also had long vines that hung to the ground; these vines were what the dead older man used as ropes to pull up the small man. Vines were abundant enough to assist everyone climbing the mountain, yet the older man only used one vine. As he reached the tree, a voice rumbled, “Congratulations, you have made it to the top.”

The young man jumped back in fear. The voice from the tree then said,

“Don’t be afraid; you have made it to the top, but this was only the start of your journey. Not many people can make it this far. 2 men made it to the top before you. The older man you see laying on the ground dead, and the man he pushed off the mountain.

The young man gasped in horror. The tree continued the story.

“Both men climbed up here many years ago. They both climbed up here in search of more for their families. Once they reached the top, I told them they had to complete five tasks to inherit the riches from my leaves. They both agreed. I let them take my golden vines so they could lower themselves down the mountain. The older man you see dead on the ground convinced the other man to look over the edge to see how many vines they would need to climb down as he looked over the edge. The older man pushed him to his death. The older man then decided to take the vines and lower them down for his son to climb up. Because of this act, I pulled my golden power from the vines he took from me, leaving them weak. The older man laughed at me and arrogantly tried to continue with his plan. He anchored the vines to himself and began to pull his son up. Right before you reached the top, the pressure from the vines crushed him, and he fell dead.

The young man was horrified, but he continued to listen. The tree continued.

“The man that was pushed looked a lot like you, and his spirit was strong. His only mistake was trusting another man. So now I ask you, do you want to inherit the riches from my leaves?”

The young man replied, “yes,”

“To inherit the riches from these leaves, you must complete five tasks.”

The young man was afraid, but he had never seen anything like this before. The young man had come so far, and he had nothing to go back to. The young man dropped to his knees and asked,

“What are the tasks?”

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