Does anyone know the name of this story about a man who courageously led a group of people out of a forest? The details are murky for me but this group was frightened to try to leave and he lead them out.

Throughout the story, they entered a really dark place and he ripped out his own heart which shined brightly and used it as a light to lead the way. At the very end, when everyone had made it out, he collapsed, and someone stepped on his heart to extinguish the light.

It's not a novel, it's a short story if memory serves correctly.


This is 'The Legend of Heliopher' by Hardy Arnold, published in Plough Magazine in 1938 as an English-language retelling of the short folk tale “The Flaming Heart of Danko.” by Maxim Gorsky.

And the people shouted, flinging their arms about in raging despair, “There is no light, there is no sun!”

But Heliopher called out, “Follow me!” And with his nails he tore open his breast, and his heart burned with love, and it glowed and shed its beams through the dark forest. Then he took it in both hands, held it high over his head, and strode forth in front of the people.

  • 1
    Yes, that's exactly it! Gah, you're wonderful. Thank you SO much, I've been trying to find it all day! – Lady of Starfall Apr 15 '18 at 0:10
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    You're welcome. Don't forget to upvote and click the "accept" button – Valorum Apr 15 '18 at 0:15

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