Do you remember the fable “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” that we read as kids? It’s the story of the mischievous shepherd boy who was so bored with his mundane life that he decided to play a mean little game with people of his village. He would cry at the top of his lungs: “Wolf! wolf!” so that the villagers would leave what they were doing and give him some attention. He did it twice, thrice and maybe even more, and everytime the villagers would fall for his prank and reprimand him for his behavior. Eventually, when the boy encountered a real wolf that attacked his flock of sheep, he cried: “Wolf! wolf!” but the villagers were fed up with his lies and never came to his rescue. The boy had to watch the hungry growling wolf devour his sheep one by one and learned the value of telling the truth.
As I was rereading this story to my son, in the hopes that he, too, would learn that lying gets you into trouble, I remembered all the times I believed all the different kinds of calls I heard in my life. This inspired me to rewrite this short story, from vicarious and collective experience. This time the Heart is the main character, the villagers are replaced with a man/woman who lives in a modern world, and the wolf is, obviously, Love.
The Heart that Cried: “Love!”
A Very Short Story for Adults
Once upon a time, there was a woman who had a very pesky, fickle Heart. One day, Heart felt very bored and went searching for excitement. It found a handsome man who looked like a gentleman, but was actually more of a player. Heart didn’t mind, it started beating hard and cried: “Love! Love!” The woman was startled at the sound of Heart and looked around to check what Heart had found. She locked eyes with the handsome man and thought that Heart was right. She thought she had found Love, too. Heart chuckled secretly at her naiivity. A few months later, the woman realized that Heart was only pranking her.
The man was a self-centered Narcissist who kept playing mind games with her. It took the woman’s wounds a long time to heal, and she was practically scarred for life until…Heart decided to play the same game again, just for the fun of it.
Heart spotted another man a while later and cried: “Love! Love!” A little skeptical, but nevertheless ready to answer the call, the woman looked around and found another man who seemed, at first sight, like the man of her dreams. Alas, she had fallen again. This time, the woman vowed that that would be the last time she would ever believe Heart’s calls.
One day, Heart had a very strange feeling that it hadn’t felt before. It was pounding fast, but it didn’t feel uncomfortable. It felt like it was being dragged by some mysterious force towards a being that seemed all too familiar. Heart looked around and found another heart that looked just like it. It was thrilled to finally find a mate that would end its years of solitude. She gasped and whispered: “This is it, that’s true Love!” Then she cried to the woman, “Love! Love! This is Love!” The woman heard the cries but wasn’t moved. She wasn’t shaken by Heart’s cries this time. She thought that Heart was lying again and she was too tired of disappointments. But Heart kept screaming: “Love! Love! This is love, woman! Listen to me!” The woman was so bothered by Heart’s escalating shrieks so she decided it was time to shut down Heart once and for all. Heart sensed the woman’s deep pain, and whimpered: “I know, I know…how would you believe me now after everything I’ve done to you? I’m so sorry.” Tears fell down Heart’s face as it said, “I promise you that I’ll never, ever cry ‘Love’ again.”
Heart and the man’s heart parted sadly and silently, wishing each other well. The man caught a glimpse of the woman who never raised her head to look around. There was something attractive about her, and he had a fleeting urge to approach her. But he soon dismissed that feeling. His Heart had been a liar quite often, too. Perhaps hearts were not made to be trusted, he thought, as he crossed the street and went on his way.