Theodore Volgoff

 "Have you heard of Sa'adat?" Phero asks. "And do you know where it is?"
"I have been there once or twice. It lies to the East of here. What I can tell you is that it is only visible from the air, so you must know how to fly. From the air you will be able to see it no matter how far away you are. It will shine like a beacon, guiding you home."

At the crossroads, Irfan gazes at the paths that lead to the four corners of the Earth. The crossroads are heaven to the wise as they delight in the encounters of people from far and wide. The news they bring, the tales they tell, their strange customs and exotic cuisine. And the wise man knows that if he waits patiently, all these things will come to him.


To the South he sees a man carrying a great burden. As the man comes closer he sees arms waving and legs dangling behind him and hears two voices arguing:  

 "I am tired", the man says. "I need to rest for a moment."
"Well then, I might as well have a look around while you are doing that. You will not leave without me, will you Phero?"
"Of course not."

Phero tells Irfan about his search for a place called Sa'adat, a castle of gold.
On his way to find Sa'adat he had met Malwin who told him that the castle lay to the north, close to the sea and offered to accompany him as they were both going in same direction. Phero had agreed to this but was now beginning to wonder if his friend had led him astray.  

When the burdened man reaches the crossroads he falls to his knees. He is carrying a large backpack, and attached to it is a man seated on a chair. Malwin gets up and asks why they are stopping.  

As Malwin wanders off, Phero lays down on the ground, leaned up against the backpack. Irfan introduces himself to the new arrival.  

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 "We have gone too far, Malwin. I am sure of it", the burdened man says.
"No, no, no. We are not even close yet. We still have five more miles to go", Malwin replies.
"I hope you are right. I really do not want to have to go back."
"Do not worry. We are going the right way."

 "I should have stayed at home with my mother, like they said. They all told me this was a fool's errand. I guess I will never find it now."
"Why do you believe that?"
"Well, I have no luck so I can not rely on that to guide me. And I can not fly."
"I can help you with that!" Irfan says with enthusiasm. "I will teach you how to fly."
Phero laughs, "So, you think you can teach me how to fly, is that right? No, I think not. If God wanted people to fly he would have given them wings."
"God has given you wings. You were born with them. We all were. And now you must learn to use them. And that I can teach you."
Not quite sure if he is joking or if he is simply mad, Phero decides to indulge him.
"Then teach me, wise man. Teach me how to fly."

 "Good morning, new friend", he says. "I am Irfan, the Wise. May I be of any assistance?"
"No, I am fine. Do not worry about me. I just need to rest."
"On the dirty ground? Surely I can offer you a bed or a hammock so that you may rest more comfortably."
"Oh, but I am comfortable. The ground is steady, does not rock and I can not fall off it. But if you want to help me, I could use some directions."  

Phero sighs and looks towards the East, in the direction of the castle.

The Backpack