There are two sci-fi short stories I've been trying to remember. They're both pretty old, I read them in some anthology.
I think this first one won a Hugo award. Two people are on a spaceship. They've been banished (I think) from their society, and sentenced to death. Instead of being executed, they take their ship (literally described as a ship, with sails (presumably light) and rigging) and set their course to a grouping of stars known as the Snake or Dragon, or something like that, where their mythology says the souls of the dead go. The Snake/Dragon was described as having red eyes (planets or stars or something.). The two people are slowly starving to death, they're both described as having pitch black skin that protects them from radiation.
The other is about a kid who goes to a special school where all the teaching is done through games. Individual games, group games, games with rules or without. To graduate, he has to pass a test (which he doesn't know is a test). He wakes up at a public school, being bullied and the whole school has low grades. He finds a letter to the effect that he has to find a way to fix it. He passes, trains some more at his school, takes a few months off as a normal person, which he can't stand, and goes back to the school. At the end, he wakes up in an office, and on his desk is a note that reads (paraphrased) "Mr. President. Something is wrong here. Fix it."
He has told us of the darkness,
He has shown us deepest night.
The rage inside a burning sun,
The calmness of its light.