We all have talents which can take us towards the dark or light. It is up to us to choose.
| The pied piper reflected on his situation. How everything had changed!
As a child, he had always managed to sway his group of friends whichever way he liked, with his charm and his lovely, musical voice. The flute just added to the effect as he grew. There was hardly any situation in his life that he hadn't been able to influence. He practiced his charm, and his flute, on the animals of a nearby farm as well, and soon convinced everyone in the village that he and his flute were magical.
He could still remember the day with the mice, like it was yesterday. The kingdom had been plagued by the rodents to a limit that the people threatened mutiny unless the king handled the situation. The king was at a loss. He had no clue of what to do with so many mice. So he did what all kings are good at doing- declared a hefty reward for anybody that could take care of the rodents.
It was a friend of the piper that suggested him the idea of approaching the king. After all, if he could influence people with his pipe, what were some small mice! So the piper visited the king's court and claimed that he would take care of the mice. And he did. When the king tried to get out of the payment, the piper took care of that as well. But this time, it was not just about having his way, exerting his charm. This time, it was about power.
When the piper made the king bow down and make his due payment twice over, he felt a power like never before. His fame spread far and wide. People would request him to take care of some infestation here or some epidemic there. Rich people would pay him to just watch as he charmed wild animals and made them toe his line. As years passed, he started getting bored with the same tricks. Money was plentiful, but charming animals was no fun anymore.
Then one day, the piper met the shadow. He was a man who was whispered about in the corridors of rich mansions and powerful institutions, but had been so elusive that his very existence was debated. This was man of infinite resources and great evil. He had single-handedly managed to change the geography of enough kingdoms to make him a force to reckon with.
Everything magical always attracts the forces of evil. As the piper's fame grew, the shadow became fascinated with him. He had also heard about how the piper had brought his king down on his knees. This made the piper very interesting to the shadow. He could already see unlimited possibilities. So one day, he found the piper and made his proposal. The piper was scared at first, he had never met anyone so thoroughly dark in his soul. But as he listened to the shadow praise his powers, he was reminded of the deep satisfaction he had felt in defeating the king. The piper was convinced.
His task was indeed very simple. He had to continue entertaining the rich and famous. But unknown to them, he would play a tune that would reach into their subconscious minds and influence their decisions the way the shadow wanted. Soon, there would be an uprising in the kingdom and some powerful military general or prince would overthrow the king, with full support from all the influential people in the kingdom. These coups bewildered everyone, but it was as if an invisible force was pushing it through.
Despite all his successful ventures, the shadow was not yet satisfied. His ultimate victory was yet to come. He met the piper one dark night, and told him his plan. The piper was so drunk on his own power that he didn't pause to think about what the shadow was asking him to do. All he wanted was more.
The stage was set. The piper had declared a tour of the biggest, most prosperous kingdom of the world. He would play for the common people, giving them a glimpse of the magic that he could weave. Everyone looked forward to enjoying his melodious flute. The shadow waited.
The piper was excited. He had heard a lot about this place and its people. These were strong-minded, intelligent race. Their cities were full of thriving institutions of art and science. With their knowledge and wisdom, the people of the kingdom had managed to flourish like none other.
It was this kingdom, that the shadow coveted for himself. The piper would play a tune of differences that would turn the people onto each other and spark a civil war like never before. In all the turmoil, the shadow planned to overthrow the ruling clan and become the most powerful man on earth.
The show started in the heart of the capital. As the piper's music flowed, the people felt a strange unease. The sweet music was gentle and charming, yet it bothered something deep down in their psyche. A learned wizard who had come to watch the magic of the piper felt that something was amiss, and immediately went to his peers. These were ageless sages who knew all that went on in this world and the next. With each note of the pipe, they felt the clutches of darkness spreading. They rushed to the king and advised him to stop the piper or face dire consequences. Meanwhile, the audience of the piper had started getting agitated and groups of people could be seen arguing and fighting with each other. As word reached the king, he realised that the sages were right, and immediately had the piper imprisoned and his pipe taken away. The sages helped calm the people down.
When word spread about what the piper had attempted, the enraged people demanded his execution. And so here he was, awaiting the end of his life. The shadow had retreated into the realms of darkness where nobody could hope to find him, while the piper couldn't help but reflect on his situation.
Black coal, with its promise of diamonds, draws a great many into coal-mines. But only when coal fuels a fire and lights the dark, is it of any worth. So it is with the power of the mind.