potential (a short fairy tale)

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Once there was a little boy, who dreamed all day long of the stories he had heard. Stories of pirates and adventurers and mad scientists who invented strange machines.

The little boy wanted to be just like the brave heroes in the stories.

“One day,” he said to himself, “I'm going to be just like them. I'm going to be something great.”


Once there was a young man, who no longer dreamt of childhood stories. Old fantasies had been replaced, for him, with everyday worries. So many people needed things from him that he forgot what he wanted for himself.

“One day,” he told himself, “I'm going to really make something of myself. I'll make them proud of me.”


Once there was an old man, who would sit every day by his window, and look out at the world as it passed by. He thought of how young and hopeful he had once been, of the potential he had once had, of all the things he had wanted to do when he was still young.

The old man wished, more than anything, that he was young again. For if he could only be young again, just for a while, then he would be able to achieve so much. The old man had a grandson, who would sit and look up at him wide-eyed, listening to the stories that the old man repeated to him.

For the old man knew that he could not be young again, and that it was foolish to hope otherwise. Instead, he tried to give his grandson the same ambition that he had once had. He had missed his own chance to be great. Perhaps his grandson would not.

Created: Dec 20, 2010

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