The first-person narrator of "The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains" is a very small but very dangerous man. He hires Calum MacInnes as a guide to take him to a mysterious cave in the black mountains on the Misty Isle, where a fabulous treasure awaits them. They converse on the journey, in beautifully written passages like this:
I thought about it. "Sometimes I think that truth is a place. In my mind, it is like a city: there can be a hundred roads, a thousand paths, that will all take you, eventually, to the same place. It does not matter where you come from. If you walk toward the truth, you will reach it, whatever path you take."In the course of their conversations, we learn the two have reasons to fear and despise each other. Their past, and the nature of the treasure they seek, will lead them to some terrible choices.
Calum MacInnes looked down at me and said nothing. Then, "You are wrong. The truth is a cave in the black mountains. There is one way there, and one only, and that way is treacherous and hard, and if you choose the wrong path you will die alone on the mountainside."
Gaiman coedited Stories, an anthology designed to highlight the storytelling talents of a wide variety of authors from different genres. It includes a number of excellent writers, but none of them could hope to surpass the storytelling skills of Gaiman himself.