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Sunset Land


Harry Buschman

The young man stared at the setting sun. “Oh, how I would love to be where the sun sets. How beautiful it must be in Sunset Land.”

The old man thought a bit before he answered ... “where the sun sets, you say. Hmm ... now why would a man want to go where the sun sets?”

The young man stared fixedly at the setting sun. “Think how wonderful it must be to live where the sun sets. Look – there old man, just over the crest of that long dark hill. That’s where I want to be.”

“I think you will find it is gone when you get there. Stay here, young man – this is your home. You can watch the sun set every night from our village.”

But the young man would not be persuaded to stay. To make his home in Sunset Land was his fondest dream. It was a beautiful sight from here but he was certain it would be many more times more beautiful where the sun set. He thought the people there would be far more handsome and intelligent than those in the simple village he lived in.

So the young man set out on a journey of many years. Each night he would walk toward the setting sun. He would walk all night, but when he got to where the sun set in the morning he would discover that the sun had risen again and hung low in the eastern sky behind him. He would question the natives every morning ... “Tell me,” he would ask. “Did the sun set here last night.” They would, of course, look at him strangely, point to the west and tell him the sun always set in the west.

So he marched on, looking for the land the sun set in. There would be days of rain or snow when the sun was nowhere to be seen, and the young man, (now growing older) would wait for it to appear again. He crossed many borders into lands that were foreign to him. There were people of different colors, different tongues and customs that were strange to him. He conquered great oceans – great mountains – burning deserts ... all to no avail.

He grew old in his search for Sunset Land and he became frail and tired. He was almost convinced the sun never really set anywhere, that it was all a cruel trick and he had wasted his life in a vain and selfish attempt to satisfy a youthful whim.

To his great surprise he arrived in the town of his birth one day and it occurred to him that, in walking westward, he had searched the earth around and was home again. He wanted to find the old man whose advice he had ignored when he was young. But the old man had long since passed away.

That evening he sat on the little hill that faced the western mountains to watch the sun sink over the crest of that same long dark hill he remembered from a time long ago.

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