The unreal never existed.
The real never ceases to exist.
The story asks you to discriminate between that which is real and how it appears.
The error in this story is that the mind mistakes appearance for essence.
The deeper meaning points to the ability to discriminate between that which brings lasting Peace and Joy and that which is temporary.
In this light the story points out the error of mistaking appearances and that which is time-bound for that which is true and timeless. And, when that mistake is clearly seen, a deeper truth is unveiled, which is that it is the nature of an error to cease once it is seen.