There was once a town where the thing everyone feared the most was getting lost at night in the "Cave of Fear". No one had ever returned from there, and whenever anyone got lost and ended up there, the last that was heard was a great cry of terror, followed by a few enormous guffaws. The townsfolk lived in terror that one day the monster would leave the cave. So they regularly left gifts and food at the mouth of the cave, and these always soon disappeared.
One day, a young man came to town, and, as he heard about the situation with the cave, he thought that it was unfair. So he decided to enter the cave and confront the monster. The young man asked for some help, but everyone was so afraid that not a single person approached the mouth of the cave with him. He went inside, finding his way with a torch, and calling out to the monster, wanting to talk with it and discuss the situation. At first, the monster had a good long laugh, and the young man followed the sound of the monster's voice. But then the monster went quiet, and the young man had to carry on, not knowing in which direction to go.
Finally he arrived at a huge cavern. At the bottom of the cavern he thought he could make out the figure of the monster, and as he approached it, he felt that something hit him hard on his back. This pushed him forward towards a hole in the rock. He couldn't avoid it, and fell through. Believing that he was about to die, he let out one last cry. Then he heard the great guffaws.
-"Darn it, I think the monster has swallowed me,"
he said, whilst falling.
However, as he fell, he heard music, and voices. They got clearer, and when he made a soft landing at the bottom, he heard a group of people shout:
Hardly believing it, he found himself right in the middle of a big party. The partygoers were all those people who had never returned to the town. They explained to him that this place had been the idea of an old mayor of the town. That mayor had tried to accomplish great things, but was always held back by the fears of the people around him. So the mayor invented the story of the monster to demonstrate to people how such an attitude was so limiting. So the young man stayed there, enjoying the party and the company of all those who had dared to approach the cave.
And what about the town? In the town they still believe that to enter the Cave of Fear is the worst of all punishments...