Thursday, January 31, 2008

House of Dancing Lights

Ah, my dear friends,

Listen,I have a story of tell, the story of house of
dancing lights.

I never heard anyone mention of the house, the little
house on the hill. Not until that overcast day I sat
beside the fire at this roadside inn.

‘I have seen many learned men go the over hill’ said
Anna. Anna, the inn keeper knew me from my annual stopover
at his inn.

‘Go where, Anna?’ I asked.

‘To the house of dancing lights, where the old white
beard lives. Many learned men from lands far far away
came here. On clear summer nights you can see the
dancing lights,over there’ Anna said.

‘Over that hill, I don’t see any dancing lights, Anna’

‘No, those were good old days, the men never come now’
said sad faced Anna and left the salon.

I decided to stay back the next day and visit the
house on the hill. Perhaps I meet the old white
beard,strange names those country folk have. I rose
early next morning, the portly inn keeper the showed
me the path that led up the hill.

The path up the hill was steep. Disused for the long
time,grass grew all along the path.Sweating with
excursion,I reached the house.

As I passed the gate,looking at house built with
strong oak and stone. It stood there bravely deifying
the menacing winds of the hills.

‘Come in and sit in the shade’, A voice called from the

A white bearded face beckoned me.

‘Its a hot day, drink this water from the spring for I
have none more to offer.’

I drank the cool water the from jug, his calm smiling
face asked for no introduction and none was given.

‘Is this the house of dancing lights’ I asked coyly.

‘That what’s the folks used to call it ’ he said.

‘It was known by that name, when the learned men came
here’ I asked.

‘Learned men, with strong hands build this house.
They built it with ideas, not of stone and oak’

‘Alas, they come no more’

‘In the dark nights they built log fires and talked
the things of learning, the night sky lite with sparks
of joy and learning.’

Thus ended my meeting with old white beard. I left him
there in the house of dancing light, now I knew why its
called so.

Day flew by, again the time had come to visit my old
parents in the country, I once again stopped by at the
inn. Anna,received me with joy and told me ‘the learned
come again from the lands far far away, they all go to
the house over the hill’.

‘Aha, the house of dancing lights, Anna’ I asked.

‘No, I don’t see dancing lights anymore’ Anna said and
went back wiping the mugs.

I decided to visit the old white beard, walking up the
steep path, I saw the path was now well used. Seeing
litter lying around the path, I realized sadly how much
things changed.

The grand old white beard welcomed me with open arm’s
and asked me to sit with him.

‘So the learned men come again’ I said ‘yet, the night
sky isn’t lit with dancing sparks’.

White beard was strangely silent, his gaze so distant
and disenchanted.

As if coming out of reverie, the old white beard

‘My son, the learned men of the yore came here to give
light of learning in the darkness of night, sharing the
warmth of their idea’s. They left this place a little
better every time they left.’

‘Men, who cometh now desire to take what can not be
given, they cast only shadows’

=The house of dancing lights is still there,on the hill. I could never understand the words of old white beard. Pray, enlighten me -arky

About the story

This story was first written in private correspondence with my friend Ramanraj, without his encouragement this beautiful story would have been lost forever. I wrote this story to vent out my frustration at the steady disintegration of the fraternity of free thought. First posted on on fsf-mailing .

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