The City of Blindfolds
There was a city in the middle of the desert, and no one had left for two hundred years. Ever since the first explorer had tried to leave but returned half a day later, complaining that the sun hurt his eyes, every person who tried to traverse the expanse had worn a blindfold, and all had died.
“The sun must have hurt their eyes too much,” concluded the people of the city, and, next time, the brave adventurer was given a thicker blindfold.
Finally, the city came under crisis. Drought had brought bad harvest, bad harvest had brought famine, and famine was bringing extinction.
“Our only hope,” they concluded, “is to find another city and trade our gold for more food, but how will we get through the desert?”
“I will go,” stated the mayor’s daughter. “Give me some gold and water, and I will find a town we can trade with.”
Her father protested. Her mother protested. Her people protested. But she insisted, and, faced with slow death, the city relented.
Before she set out, her father offered her a blindfold made from the thickest cloth money could buy, but she refused to wear it and walked away before he could complain further. She traveled for many hot days and cold nights. She was thirsty and lonely, but, without the blindfold, she was able to use the stars and the sun to find her way and she never got lost.
One day, she stumbled upon short green plants she had never seen before, with leaves like blades. The weather got milder, and water was frequent. Not much later, she found a farmer and bought all the excess grain she had, which she agreed to deliver the city in the desert. Then she found another, and another, and she had soon traded all her gold for enough grain to feed her people for a month. When she returned with the last of the food, her people hailed her as a hero and asked what they could do to repay her. She merely asked they never try to wander around the desert in a blindfold again.