So there was once a man whose greatest talent was his ability to lie. He was no ordinary fraud. He seized upon every chance, uncovered them like glittering stones among the dirt. His mind sought into the past for every obstacle to his ruse, and into the future through every probably path. And when he was sure, when he was absolutely certain that no one could discover his treachery, he lied.

He would lie about the small things; trivial matters tossed off in the flow of conversation. He would lie about the great things; carefully planned intrigues to rocket himself forward in prestige, in wealth, in happiness. And he would lie about the proper things. None possessed a defter hand with the sharp-witted duels of social manipulation. He wielded compliment, criticism, rumor and conspiracy as one trained to those weapons from birth, holding above-all as his most precious resort the underhanded dagger of the lie. Thrusting with a careful smile, refined presence, congenial aura, and unwavering eye-contact, he became death itself.

And still the man searched further. He grasped feverishly for more solid ground. The dangers of betrayal by his own wagging tongue haunted his nights. Each untruth further increased his burden. His only desperate recourse to uphold the towering record of treachery was to build it even higher. It was soon more than he could bear. On a late autumn night, while leaves swirled in the biting forbreath of frost, he holed himself up alone in his bedroom, sank into the depths of his easy chair, and thought. Three days later, he emerged with a solution.

It was not simply enough, found the man, to tell lies. He must be convinced of them. They must hold concrete and unwavering in his vision. And so it was that easy. Now his eyes were occupied only by the prop-ups of his conception. No one could pierce through his protective cloak of denial. There would be no misstep, for every lie he conjured had an eternal presence. The very form of existence bent to his will.

And still it was not enough. Perhaps he was more skilled at the fraud that supported his whole life by selectively clouding his sight, but that did not prevent his overeager mind from rising beyond such petty tricks. He could not escape the twisted serpent of doubt slithering through his thoughts, ruining every perfect deception with its venomous kiss. He could fool others, he could fool everyone in the world, but still he was naked before his own mind. The realization infuriated him. What insolence! He would reign in his thoughts; discipline them until they yielded too to the godly power of his talent.

With unwavering confidence he could now weave the most dazzling tales, and all would believe him, even himself. His evolution was complete. He could stretch and twist reality like a ball of clay in a craftsman's able fingers. He could shape the world of everyone... except for one. You see, her greatest talent was her ability to see truth. One dim winter day, these two forces found themselves approaching each other on a deserted street. Flakes of purest snow fell between and around them, drifting from a churning, broiling frostgrey sky. They paused before each other. On one side, a great man of towering stature, bedecked in the finest clothes and held in an aloft posture of unapproachable sanctity. On the other, a small girl of discreet stature, so innocently soft of voice that one could hardly believe she had spoken at all. He opened his mouth to clutter her mind with his rubbish, but she had the first say.

"You will speak truth," her command rang gently but clearly.

And the man felt that he had no voice.

"You will see truth," she continued, her small mouth set resolutely.

And the man was struck blind.

"You will think truth," the beautiful child finished.

And the man suddenly found there was nothing left of him but his footsteps in the snow, slowly fading beneath an evening sky.