A thought came to the knight in a blinding flash: He’d needed the love of Juliet and Christopher because he didn’t love himself! In fact, he had needed the love of all the damsels he’d rescued from dragons and all the people for whom he’d fought in crusades because he didn’t love himself.
The knight cried harder as he realized that if he didn’t love himself, he couldn’t really love others. His need for them would get in the way.
As he admitted this, a beautiful, bright light shone around the knight where there once had been darkness. A gentle hand touched his shoulder. Looking up through his tears, he saw Merlin smiling down.
“You have discovered a great truth,” the magician told the knight. “You can love others only to the extent that you love yourself.”
“How do I begin to love myself?” asked the knight.
“You already have just by knowing what you know,” said Merlin.
“I know I’m a fool,” sobbed the knight.
“No, you know truth, and truth is love.”
This comforted the knight, and he stopped crying. As his eyes dried, he noticed the light around him. It was unlike any light that he’d seen before. It seemed to come from nowhere, yet everywhere.
Merlin echoed the knight’s thought. “There is nothing more beautiful than the light of self – knowledge.”
The knight looked at the light around him then into the gloom ahead. “There’s no darkness in this castle for you, is there?”
“No,” replied Merlin. “Not anymore.”
Encouraged, the knight got to his feet, ready to go on. He thanked Merlin for showing up even when he hadn’t called him.
“That is all right,” said the magician. “One does not always know when to ask for help.” And so saying, he vanished.