Paul climbed the mountain, through sleet and raging winds. The climb was difficult, but he knew he must reach the top and find the answer to his question.
Finally, Paul saw in the distance a little ice house with smoke coming from a chimney. This must be the wise old man’s house, thought Paul. He went to the door and knocked on it loudly. Almost immediately, the door opened and Paul bent his neck down to meet the eyes of the wise old woman’s brother. He was short, as well, with the same blue eyes and lilting voice. The only difference being that his hair had fallen out, and his head was now as smooth as an apple. “Come in, my boy,” the wise man said.
Before even sitting down, before even taking off his jacket or his boots, Paul asked his question: “Who are my real parents? I spoke to your sister, and she told me that you would have my answer.”
“Aahh, I see,” said the wise man. “You’ve come here for the answer.”
“Yes,” Paul said, a bit impatient. “I need to know who they are so I can find them and make us a family.”
“Paul,” the man said. “Sit down. Rest your body for a moment. For you already know the answer. It is inside your heart just waiting to be opened.”
Paul did not understand what the wise man meant. But he did as he was told and sat down. He wondered to himself how the answer could have been in his heart this entire time. And, more importantly, how could he open something that is inside his heart? Paul was confused, and he sat there for a time searching his thoughts.
As he sat, Paul looked at the new boots on his feet and noticed that his feet were dry and warm. And touching the hat on his head he realized that that his head felt warm, despite all of the ice he had walked through. And Paul noticed that his body felt strong and healthy under his thick coat, even after walking up the side of the mountain.
And it was then that Paul’s heart opened to the answer.
Paul shot up in his seat and ran to the door. “I have to go,” he said to the old man. “Thank you.” And with that, Paul ran down the mountain path through the snow and sleet. And he could swear he heard the sound of the wise man’s voice laughing over the wind blowing against him.
Paul came to the river again, and just as he was about to swim across he saw that there was a boat waiting for him to cross the river safely. The same boat that the man had saved him with.
Paul paddled the boat across the river, and ran from the riverbank to the house he had come to know so well over the last few weeks. He ran up to the door, but before he could knock, the door opened and in it stood the man and the woman.
With smiles brightening their faces, they opened their arms and said, “Son, we are so glad you are home.” Paul jumped into their arms, saying “Mom, Dad, thank you for finding me.”
And as they walked into the house together as a family, his real mother and father said together, “No Paul, thank you for finding us.”