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The Book of Caves

Chapter 1: The Blind Man and the Cave

A blind man was trapped in a dark Cave that led deep underground. Three hundred and thirty six rope ladders hung from the ceiling. Most were useless, just leading up to a solid ceiling, but one of the ladders hung from a hole in the ceiling that led up and out of the Cave.

For nine Fine Days, the blind man tried one ladder, then another, then another. Alas, he hit the solid ceiling every time.

Just when all hope seemed lost, Our Lord Caroline passed by on the ground overhead. Hearing a commotion coming from deep within the Cave, she called down to the blind man through the hole. "Do you need help?" she yelled, pulling gently on the rope ladder that led out of the Cave. "The way out is over here! Climb this ladder!"

"NO LADDERS SHOULD BE CLIMBED," responded the blind man. "THERE IS NOTHING."

And Our Lord Caroline did weep, for even in the presence of Her Astonishing Splendor, there is nothing that can save a man who voluntarily clenches his eyes shut, pounds his fists, and condemns himself to life in the Cave of Blindness.

Chapter 2: The Talking Caves

Deep in an unknown land, populated by unknown people, there was a beautiful, rich rainforest called the Forest of Truth and Lies. Deep within this forest, as far as a man could go, there lay two Caves in the ground.

These were no ordinary Caves. Just inside the entrance to each cave, carved into the wall, was a mysterious inscription. The inscriptions in the two Caves were always different, and they changed every so often, all on their own. Nobody was ever seen doing the carvings, even when people watched for days and days, so legend told that the Caves were inhabited by spiritual entities that they referred to as L.C. for Left Cave, and R.C. for Right Cave.

However, nobody dared venture into the Caves past the entrance with the inscriptions, for legend said that no man that walked past the inscriptions was ever seen again. Some said it was because inside each Cave was a bottomless pit, some said it was because there were vines that entangled and choked anyone who touched them, and some even said it was because inside the Caves were paradises so enrapturing and addicting that no man ever chose to leave. But either way, no man was ever seen returning from the depths of the Caves. The only person who approached the Caves was the Inscription Reader whom the town had nominated to step foot just inside the entrance of each Cave every morning, memorize the inscriptions, and report them back to the people.

But one day, the town's Inscription Reader came running out of the Forest with unusual fervor and vigor, and called a meeting in the town square immediately. "The Caves say something different today," he spoke, still catching his breath. "The Left Cave says... 'Venture ye deep into the Left Cave, and ye shall discover the source of Ultimate Truth.'" The crowd gasped in awe, but the Reader continued. "But the Right Cave's inscription warns against it, saying what we've all feared: venturing deep into either Cave is a sentence for certain death."

The crowd stood for a few minutes in stunned silence. The Inscription Reader took an unsure breath, and asked the crowd: "Should we trust the words of L.C., or heed R.C.'s warning?"

Just then, the crowd erupted in a flurry of opinions. "Trust L.C.!" cried half the townspeople. "Trust R.C.!" cried the other half. In all the commotion, the two halves of the crowd began not only shouting each other down, but harming each other physically as well.

"SILENCE!" cried the inscription reader, and the roar died down. "We do not do this often, but I believe this situation calls for it. We shall summon Our Lord Caroline."

And in that moment, Caroline appeared before them. The Inscription Reader explained the situation to Her.

Caroline pondered this for a moment, and then spoke.

"L.C. is a liar and a thief, and we shall never see his Cave again."

And with the blink of Her eyes, the Cave disappeared.

Chapter 3: The Cave Within A Cave

"We've been trapped in this Cave for longer than I can remember," sighed one lost explorer to the other. "We're lucky if we survive much longer in here. I'm so embarrassed. How can we truly call ourselves explorers if our legacy is getting helplessly lost and dying alone in a Cave?"

"I've got an idea!" exclaimed the other explorer, taking a trowel out of his backpack and jamming it into the ground. He dug out a small clump of dirt, then some more, then some more, until a large hole was forming in the ground.

"What are you doing?" asked the first explorer, bewildered. "How is digging a hole going to help us get out of here?" But the other man kept digging and digging, until a truly enormous tunnel had been dug out under their feet.

"Watch this," replied the explorer, and climbed into the tunnel he'd dug. "Come in here with me."

The two lost explorers crammed themselves into the hole. "Does this lead out of the Cave? Where does it go?" asked the first explorer.

"Oh, nowhere in particular," replied the second explorer. "But now, we have a Cave we can successfully escape from. We can enter this little Cave and escape from it as many times as we like, and we can officially call ourselves successful explorers."