Fussy Lantern

Why wont it light up?

Once upon a time, a man went exploring a cave full of hidden treasures, crystals, gold, weapons and more. The deeper he went, the more mystical the caverns became. At some point, his torch was no longer needed as the path was lit up by crystals embedded into the walls.

On an altar, he saw a lantern. It had black steel surrounding a glass dome with a candle inside, and even an oil chamber so that it may be lit either way.

It seemed useful enough, so he took it. On his way out, he tried to light it – to no avail. The lantern wouldn’t accept his flame.

When he exited and went back into the village outskirts where his home lay, he brought out his tools – matches, flint and steel, and other tinkering and blacksmithing tools. He found no hinges to work with, and no way to disassemble this lantern to unveil its insides.

And every time he tried to light it, nothing would happen.

At this point, he didn’t even need the lantern itself, he simply wanted to discover what this puzzle was about! Why was it not lighting?

He spent hours, days, weeks and months, and nothing.

He showed it to some of his peers, to some teachers, farmers and other fellow adventurers, all of whom who tried, and all of whom who said “it didn’t even get warm, it’s still cold.”

Years passed, and the rumor of the fussy lantern spread throughout the lands. Many visited his village just to see what the fuss was about. I mean, if he had found Excalibur, or a magic crystal or something more exciting, wouldn’t that be better? Why on earth were people so stuck up on a lantern that wouldn’t light up?

Alas, they left satisfyingly unsatisfied, for all failed.

Until one day – eight years later, a wizard came along.

“Ah, I see you have what they call a ‘fussy lantern’ now,” said the wizard. “A simple yet unbreakable curse lies upon it that does not allow for it to get lit, instilled upon by another wizard who did not want his caverns lit by fire.”

“Can you undo the spell?” asked the man.

“Of course I can! I am wizard for god’s sake!” And with that, the wizard motioned his hands and sang an enchantment to once again rekindle the lost flame of the fussy lantern. He proceeded to fail horribly and go back home sad.

More years passed – many many more years. The man who found the lantern was now an old man, and his reputation forever went down as the man who found a lantern that would not light up.

He felt his age start getting the better of him, and was wondering if he’d die without ever seeing this lantern light up.

One summer day, a little girl played with her doll and happened to run by his house.

“Little girl,” said the man in desperation, “I don’t suppose you would know how to light this lantern, would you?”

The little girl raised an eyebrow and inspected the lantern.

“Did you try asking it nicely?”

“No,” replied the man, “I suppose I have not.”

“Hey lantern,” said the girl, “could you please light up for us?”

And the lantern lit up.

“WHAT?!” the man’s jaw dropped.