by Jon Anderson


There was once a boy who loved music so much that he dreamed of making a song that would change the world in which he lived. This world was full of fear and sickness and most terrible of all, hunger. This world did not love itself, but lived in hate and sadness. One sunny afternoon he was in his tiny studio, busy with his music, when he played a new chord change and a new tone. It was very, very strange to him, but he carried on with the idea (unbeknownst to him, in a far off land, his music was heard).

Just at the time he was ready to stop, ”WHOOSH". He was transported like a shot to an underground lake in a cavern so deep within the earth that the only light came from the eyes of the fish that swam in the lake. The boy was in shock, but certainly not afraid. He looked around him and realized he was still sitting by his keyboards, yet there was this tiny rock in the middle of the lake, in the middle of the earth. "Very strange," he thought, "this is the best dream I've had in ages." Just at that moment a voice came to him from under the water, "Child, you have played a magical chord sequence which can only be played by a wizard, one who has knowledge of 'The Singing Flame.'" "What is that?" the boy asked. ''Well child, to explain would take at least a thousand hours and believe me you do not have the time for it at this moment!!!"

All of a sudden two of the most hideous creatures you have ever seen slowly crawled out of the lake and onto the island. The boy jumped. As he did, his hand touched his keyboard making an awful sound. "Ouch!! Ouch!! Ouch!!," screamed the creatures,"Ouch!!" again. "Ouch!! (The boy banged on the notes.) "Ouch!! Please!! Please!! Ouch!!," they said, "we are not here to harm you, little one. We knew someone was here. We could smell you from a long way deep under our home. Please don't make that strange flame again." "Flame?" said the boy, "It's not fire, it's sound that you hear." "Listen."

The boy started to play a beautiful melody and the creatures opened their eyes for the first time and smiled. "Are you the holder of '˜The Singing Flame?' they asked. "Singing Flame! What is this?" the boy asked. "Well, you sound like this to us; you see, past the Lake of Forgotten Dreams, through the Caverns of the Dead, there lies a very tiny forest. In the middle of the forest is a special Flame that sings all day, all night, all year, all the time. We believe it makes the world go round." "Will you show me the way please?" asked the boy. "Of course," they said, "but not to the Caverns of Dead. We would not go in there. Never, never!!"

Then the strangest thing happened. The boy started to walk on the lake which was solid, and stranger yet, his keyboards floated with him. In no time at all they were at the entrance to the cavern--it seemed to go straight down, no light, just a strong wind. "Well, I must go to see for myself," thought the boy. "Life is an adventure always!!" "Good-bye little one," the creatures shouted as the boy disappeared into the earth, " and watch out for the Guardians of the Forest." "Guardians! What Guardians?," thought the boy.

Then he heard a particular rumbling sound far off in the Tunnel. For some reason he could see his way, but he knew it was dark. (We are all made of light so no matter how dark it gets, we can always see with our own light.) The rumble was there again, but this time very much louder, then louder, until ”BANG! BANG! RUMBLE! BANG!" There standing just ten feet away was this extraordinary being with six arms. It must have been twenty feet high and twenty feet wide. It was full of strange looking instruments (well that's not what they looked like!!). "ZOW! ZON! ZAN! ZOW! ZON! ZAN! ZBAT!" This enormous sound came at the boy and knocked him off his feet -- "ZOW!! ZON!! ZAN!! TRANSHA!!" It hurt the boy's ears--"ZOW! ZON! ZAN! TRANSHA! VOP!" It hurt his legs, his arms, his eyes. He screamed, "Help, help!" but, there was no one to help.

He jumped to his keyboard, programmed his own electric sounds--"FATOOM! FATOOM!"--the sound from the boy spun the creature 'round. Just as it did a flying monster came at him, all metal and screaming with black smoke coming from it's mouth. As it landed on the ground, it waved its wings, creating an awful rattling sound, nearly deafening the boy. He programmed and shot out some percussion sounds back at the winged serpent, "Take that," he shouted, "and that!! And that!!" The monster fell back screaming. Then the creature came back with more crazy sounds--ZOW! ZOW! ZOW! "I think he's run out of that Zan and Zon stuff," thought the boy. "This is where I get him." Instead of creating a bigger sound, the boy turned to his sequencer and played the most wonderful sounding bells you have ever heard. Both the creature and the monster sat up straight and with green eyes agog, they beamed a ridiculous smile. "Beetyfol. Beetyfol," they said together, "Beetyfol." (which I think means "beautiful" in creature language). So the boy played along with the bells and created a very special sound. He smiled to himself, "Well, that's one way to fight the evil!!"

As he finished playing, the monster and the creature went fast asleep. He tiptoed past them, out into the most colorful forest you have every seen, everything was pure color and glistening and magical, so magical that the boy sat down and promptly fell asleep. As he dozed, he dreamed he heard a very wondrous tune. "There it is again," he said, "Such a perfect song, a perfect song for a perfect world where children sing and play, and dream only wonderful dreams; no sadness, no crazy feeling, only the pure joy of living." Then a strange thing happened. The boy opened his eyes and there right above his head, right above him, was "The Singing Flame" of sound he had been told about. It was the color of indigo violet, deep green, and in the center, gold. As he looked, its wings opened up, and the whole sound became clear and magnificent, as though the whole heavens were playing and singing this magical song. So here it was, "The Singing Flame" hovering above him, singing to him. It was at that exact moment when-WHOOSH! DOUBLE WHOOSH!!--he was back at his tiny studio at home, sitting there, playing and singing the very same song he had been given by the most beautiful of all of God's creations, "The Singing Flame." After that day, the boy traveled the whole world singing and playing to all the people of the world the very same song. And to this day this song is sung everyday by everyone in the most secret places we have: in our hearts, in our souls, in our minds and in our eyes. For the song is a universal one,

the one we call God,

the one we call "LOVE", "LOVE", "LOVE."

Jon Roy Anderson (1990)