Once upon a time, for that is how all stories should begin, there was a little boy who lived in a small and quiet town. The boy had a normal and small family, a mother and father who loved him, but no brothers or sisters. They lived in their little red house happily for many years.
From as long as the little boy could remember his old father used to read fantastic stories for him. These were stories from books about knights and dragons, princesses and love. A single story could take many days to complete, for these where old, large and scary books with a lot of small letters and no pictures. The boy would sit quiet in his chair, watching his old man flipping the pages over, and reading with his old and dark, but also warm voice.
The boy loved these stories and he could not imagine a day without them. As the boy grew and went to school he had no longer time for these stories. Homework, friends and other hobbies took all his time. He spend less and less time with his family, almost forgetting that he had one.
Many years later the boy had become a young man, filled with dreams and purpose. He wanted to become a scientist and discover something wonderful, he wanted a beautiful wife and child, and he wanted to become famous. One day he got the news that his old father had died from a heart attack. Filled with grief, the young man tried to remember his old father and the things they used to do together, but the only thing he could remember was the old man´s voice and the stories.
It was especially one story that he remembered that he loved, but now he had problems remembering it. It was a very sad story, a tragedy one could say, but it was also very beautiful. He had always loved the stories that could create strong feelings in him, and this was such a story. After his father´s funeral, he searched high and low to find the old books so that he could relive those days, and find the ending to the sad story. After a while, he found the books in a box, on the attic. Of all the books he found, he could not find the special book with the sad story.
He began searching everywhere, he had to find that book. He could not focus on anything else because he had forgotten the most important thing, the ending. That book was so important to him, so he used all his time searching for it. He told his friends, but they could not help him. Not even the library could help him. Not long after that, he began traveling around the world for that book. Nothing else was important compared to that book. It became a search for the saddest and most beautiful story he had ever heard, and what that story meant to him.
On his long journey he experienced so many things, he even got a beautiful wife and child, that he brought with him in search for the book. Even though he had his own family now, he was never happy anymore. He got more and more depressed and one day he convinced himself that the book was not real. It had all been in his mind. When he realized this, many years had gone by. He had become old. His son was all grown up now, how did all those years disappear so quickly?
He did not live happily ever after. He never found the book with the sad an beautiful story. His wife divorced him, and he had to work as a banker until he could retire. He never smiled, he was never happy. At his older days, he got very sick. The doctor could not do anything and at his deathbed he gathered his small family, so that he could see them all one last time.
He laid in his bed, coughing, and holding his son´s hand. He had finally time to think about his life, and what he had experienced. He had been so possessed with the task of finding the book, an because of that he had forgotten about all the other important things in life, like his family and his real goals. "What a stupid story," he mumbled, "it didn't even have and ending." He was shocked. It was crystal clear now, he hadn't forgotten the ending of the story.
The sad story did not have an ending. At that day, when his father told him that story, he did not read it from a book. It was a much more important story, it was a retelling of his fathers life. That was why it meant so much to him.
The old man started crying, but with a little smile on his lips. His son tried to comfort him, but it did not matter. From his bed he whispered to his son; "I have lived a long life, and in that life I have been chasing the saddest and most beautiful story I have ever heard around the world. The funny thing is that my life has both been sad and beautiful, the story I have been searching for has been my life." He smiled to his son as tears fell like pearls down old wrinkly cheek.
He died happily that day, with his son´s hand in his.