Once upon a time long ago there lived a king who built an amazing castle high atop a mountain in the desert.
From his aerie, the king could see almost his entire kingdom except for his capital city, which lay far to the south. Still, from the great height of his castle’s ramparts, he could see for many miles and it was magnificent.
But there were hardly any people. Eagles flew by. Sometimes one of these great birds would stop and perch on the castle walls, but then they moved on to wherever eagles go. Sometimes a passing mountain goat, looking for greener grasses came close, then wandered off. No one came to visit. It was too far and too hard to reach.
Eventually, the king felt so isolated he barely remembered what it meant to be a king or why he had moved to a place so beautiful but empty. Realizing he was lonely and would remain so if he stayed where he was — after a few more years passed because he was a stubborn ruler and the real estate market for second-hand castles on desert mountaintops was soft — the king abandoned his mountain retreat.
He left the walls and the turrets for the wind, rain and wild creatures to do with as they would.The monarch took his most treasured belongings and returned to his city to be with people, his people. And there, with life bustling around him, he was no longer alone or lonely. Sometimes he missed his castle in the desert and dreamed of it.
Away in the desert, atop its mountain perch, the castle began to crumble in on itself, yet even to this day, if you travel through the desert, you can see it. There it is, high on its perch in the Painted Desert, overlooking a tiny, silvery river. You can visit, if you like.