Jake was hot, tired, and very, very hungry. It was late afternoon and he’d been crawling through these woods for the last two days. His quest to find Lost Lake and the Ancient Sage that lived there had so far been in vain. “Maybe I’ll stop for a bit, have a snack and catch my breath” he thought as he slipped out of his specially modified backpack. Pulling back the flap and reaching in, he encountered something sticky. “Great, my lemon jellied spiders have spilled and made a huge mess! Aw man, it’s all over everything! My whistle’s stuck to my water bottle, my shovel is all gunked up, even my toilet paper is covered. I guess I might as well get back on the trail.” And with that, he closed his pack, threw it over his…back, and away he went.
Jake had been planning this trip for months, and with the help of Brother BudPie, his clever, capable, wise-in-the-ways-of-the-woods roomie, was pretty sure he had everything he would need to get him through the next couple of days. Except maps. There were no maps of Lost Lake. There was no point in recording its location, since it moved around, from place to place, popping up here, showing up there, never in the same place twice. “Maybe I’ll find some sign along the trail” he thought, as he slithered under a log, his backpack scraping on the way through. And it wasn’t long before one such sign appeared, nailed to a tree, a few feet off the ground. Looking up, squinting, he could barely make out the faded words: “LOST LAKE AHEAD. SOMEWHERE. MAYBE.”
“At least I’m on the right track” he thought, as he continued on. And soon enough, he came upon a stump in the middle of the trail, and perched atop the stump, both eyes closed, was an owl. “Sir Owl” said Jake, “can you tell me how to get to lost lake?” Opening one eye, peering down at Jake, the owl said “Who?” “Not who” said Jake, “what.” “Lost Lake. I’m looking for Lost Lake and the Ancient Sage that lives there.” “Who?” said the owl again. By this time Jake’s patience was wearing thin. “Lost Lake. Looking for Lost Lake.” “Who?” “Arghh! Sage. Lost Lake.” “Oh! Why didn’t you say so?” said the owl, shaking out his feathers and opening his other eye. “You can’t find Lost Lake by looking for it. You have to be lost. It will find you.”
“Then things are looking up” thought Jake to himself, as he bid the owl farewell and continued on his journey. “I don’t see how I could be any more lost than I am.” Jake was determined to see this quest through to the end. Lost in thought, he was brought up short when he stumbled into a warm, brown, furry body. Before him stood a weasel, with crossed arms, tapping his toe on the ground. “Going somewhere boy?” asked the weasel. “Mr. Weasel, I’m trying to find Lost Lake and the Sage who lives there. I’m seeking sage advice.” The weasel, smiling a broad smile, revealing a mouth full of shiny, white, pointed teeth, replied “You can’t get there from here, boy, but I would be more than happy to show you where you have to be to get there. I’m sure you won’t mind if we stop by my den on the way, for a bite of lunch. Hmm?” Suddenly quite afraid, Jake darted around the weasel and down the trail as fast as he could. He could hear the weasel laughing, “You’ll be back boy, then we’ll have lunch. Hey! You have toilet paper stuck to your tail!”
“I could swear I passed by this very rock twice already” he thought, “and this is the same valley I was in an hour ago. I hope I haven’t been crawling in circles all day.” But as he descended into the valley, for what he thought might be the third time, a fog began to roll in, and soon he was totally immersed in a dense, heavy mist. Not wanting to wander aimlessly and risk possible injury, he curled up at the base of a tree. Soon, his eyes grew heavy and he slept.
Jake awakened to bright sunshine and the sound of birds singing. And down in the valley was a lake. The lake was small, and blue and sparkled in the sunlight. Around the lake, on the far shore, was a small hut, made of stone. Jake hurried down, afraid it might vanish before his eyes. And crawling up to the hut, at journey’s end, he came upon an old man, sitting with crossed legs, his fingers intertwined in his lap, his eyes closed.
“Ancient Sage, my name is Jake, and I have traveled far, seeking you out in the hopes that you might impart some of your wisdom.” Opening his eyes, the Sage beckoned, “Come young one, come sit before me, that you may hear what I have to say.” Jake leaned close, that he might miss not a single word. This is why he had come. This was the culmination of months spent planning and preparing. “Young one” said the old man, “Two wrongs do not make a right.” Jake leaned closer, for he sensed there was more. “But three lefts do.” And with that, the old man closed his eyes once more. “But wait!” said Jake. “How do I get home?” Opening one eye, The Sage of Lost Lake replied, “Follow the trail from the back of the hut for approximately one hundred yards. There you will find a bench. Sit on the bench. The bus runs every half hour.”