It was the blackest of nights when the young maiden entered the harbor, the pint-sized rowboat she occupied, tattered and thrown by lashings of the sea. From the deepest and darkest waters she called out to the lighthouse.

“The storm is great and the water is darkest where I drift,” she cried. “My oars have abondoned me and the anger of the deep beckons my death, shall I go to it?”

The lighthouse stood tall and firm, its stature unwavering in the howling wind, and it shined brightly upon her.

“Swim,” the lighthouse said.

A swell from beneath her feet welled up and tossed the small boat into mid air. Another wave shot up and struck fast at the hull of the tiny vessel, shattering it in two, sending the maiden crashing into the deep. When, finally, she surfaced, her tears became masked by the dark water that now covered her face.

“I am done for,” she said to the lighthouse. “I seems, now, a better fate to drown, dear friend. I dare not turn away such a blessing so plainly laid before me. What say you?”

The lighthouse held steady.


It was the case, that by then, the maiden was choking on water. The current lapped at her ankles and pulled at her will, and the rain stung her face as she struggled to stay above the surface.

“How can I swim when drowning asks nothing of me? To what do I owe swimming, and what fruit could it possible bear for me now?” The young maiden slipped beneath the surface, and inhaling the darkness that surrounded her, she took it into her being. When, again, she appeared from below, she cupped her hands on either side of her mouth and shouted toward the lighthouse, “Do you see how drowning calls me? Surely I should go to it now.”

The lighthouse shined brightly, its voice able to overpower the storm’s fury.

“Nothing comes of drowning; the drowning is all. But, there is more possibility than you can ever imagine that comes from swimming. As a lighthouse, I can only guide you—I cannot save you myself. You must swim.”