As the sun set, painting the sky with streaks of gold, a soldier, boots caked in the dust from a thousand roads and heart heavy with memories of battle, marched rhythmically towards his future. His trusty sword swung at his side, a silent testament to the wars behind him.
His journey was halted by a hag, a creature so foul that her lip seemed to sweep the ground she hobbled over. “Evening, brave one,” she cackled, “Such a fine warrior should never jingle mere pennies.”
“Your words are as strange as your form, crone,” the soldier replied, his hand never straying far from the hilt of his sword.
Her gnarled finger pointed to a monstrous tree. “Climb and claim your fortune, if you dare. But mind you, bring me the tinderbox.” Her demands were clear, as was the greed in her eyes.
A great chasm within the tree led him to a chamber more grand than any king’s hall, with treasure guarded by beasts with eyes as wide as the full moon. Yet, the soldier, undeterred, used the witch’s own apron to tame the creatures and fill his boots with gold beyond measure.
“Up! Up with me and my gold!” he cried, and the witch obliged, hauling him from the depths of the earth. But the soldier, wise to the ways of the world, knew a secret untold was a secret too valuable to share. With one swift stroke, he freed the tinderbox from the witch’s grasp forever.
Now a man of means, he found himself in a town where every pleasure was his for the taking. Yet, as coins dwindled, he remembered the tinderbox. With a strike, a spark, and a strange canine apparition, he found his coffers full once more.
Driven by whispers of a hidden princess, he called upon his spectral servants to spirit her away. A kiss stolen in the dead of night led to whispers of dreams and prophecy. When betrayal led to his capture, the soldier, ever cunning, called forth his guardians with a spark. In the chaos, a kingdom was won.
From a soldier of fortune to a king by might, he claimed his queen, the princess, and a kingdom found peace. And in the heart of the castle, the tinderbox lay, a keeper of secrets and power, the truest ally of the soldier who once marched alone.
Thus, the tale weaves its end, with a dance of dogs and destiny, where courage, wits, and a little magic can crown even a common man a king.
Also Read: Jason and the Golden Fleece
Follow Up Questions
Why do you think the soldier took the tinderbox, and what would you have done if you were in his place?
How did the soldier feel when he discovered what the tinderbox could do, and why is it important to be careful with wishes?
What lesson do you think we can learn from the soldier’s adventure with the tinderbox?
Moral of the Story
Cleverness and resourcefulness can lead to unexpected power and fortune, but one must be cautious of how one uses such power.