Saturday, October 29, 2005

What are we to do?

Once upon a time, a traveller came to a well-to-do village. He was walking from door to door asking for food when he saw a small girl playing on the road by herself. Running, he picked her up and carried her off the road just as several horses came galloping around the corner. “If it weren’t for you, my daughter would be dead now,” a woman told him and gave him a large bowl of soup, “How did you know that she was in danger?” “I know what is best for people,” he said quietly.

Soon, the story began to spread around the village and people came to see the traveller. “Should I marry the man I am engaged to?” one woman asked him and he told her not to as the man would become a drunk and ruin them both. “What should I sow this spring?” a man asked him and he replied to sow wheat as it would be a long and sunny summer. And his predictions proved true, those who failed to follow his advice suffering for it. Soon enough all the people in the village would lay aside their tools and go to the traveller with every decision. Seeing his wisdom, the villagers decided to make him their leader and went to him to ask what the village should do.

“What are you to do?” he repeated their question, his voice suddenly full of sorrow. “You must take up sticks and rocks and chase me out of this village, never letting me come back.” They were struck silent by his words and stood around aimlessly while he sat on the chair they had set out on the village green for him. Finally, seeing that they did not understand, he stood up and slowly, without looking back walked out of the village, never to be seen there again. And the villagers stood around on the green asking themselves, “What are we to do now?”


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