Chinese Fable
Source:    Publish Time: 2013-04-17 18:25   1525 Views   Size:  16px  14px  12px

Chinese Fable of the

Chinese Fable of the Month

A budest monk and his young apprentice were praying in the monastery gardens when suddenly the monk stopped and looked far out into the trees. The young apprentice was confused by what he saw and said, ‘Master why do you look so intensely into the trees’. The monk turned around and answered ‘my young apprentice I look into the trees because their movements tell me that it is time for us to journey into the outside world so that you may further your learning.

So the two journeyed far into the outside world eventually stopping at a big mansion filled with all things silver and gold. The young apprentice turned to his master with excitement and said, ‘here Master we shall surely eat a feast fit for kings if this man will only give us shelter.’

They knocked at the door and a man dressed in magnificent finery answered. The monk smiled and the man smiled back but in his eyes was only annoyance.

‘We have wandered far friend’ said the monk, ‘and we would appreciate some hospitality.’ The man grunted and pointed to a stable nearby – the monk and his young apprentice thanked the man and settled down into a bed of straw for the night. Next morning the rich man had his servant bring them food but it looked more like gruel for the pigs than anything a human being could eat.

The young apprentice was unhappy but his master asked him to hold his peace. In the morning when they were just about to leave the monk looked up at the house and noticed that there was a crack in the building. When he saw this he immediately went to the rich man and offered to fix the crack free of charge. Being greedy the rich man agreed and the monk worked all morning on repairing the crack.

Now the young apprentice was distressed by this and wondered why the monk would help the rich man when he was so uncharitable and gave them horrible food to eat and straw for a bed but he had learned obedience in the monastery and said nothing.

The two journeyed further into the outside world until they came upon a humble little farmhouse. Being in need of food and refreshment they knocked on the door and were greeted by a jolly good-hearted farmer who invited them in and gave them a modest but wholesome meal. The farmer was poor but from the little he had he gave happily to his visitors.

The monk and his young apprentice ate hungrily and after they finished their meal they were shown to the best bedroom in the house – a small modest room – humble and old but full of love and hospitality.

The next morning they ate a hearty breakfast and took their leave of the farmer.  Now as they walked by an old barnyard the monk stopped and went inside. The young apprentice watched confused as his master walked over to an old cow that was chewing some hay. He stroked the cow’s head – leaned down and whispered in the animal’s ear. Suddenly the cow gave a loud MOO and fell to the barnyard floor.

Leaving the cow lying on the ground, the monk left the barn beckoning his young apprentice to follow him. Now the past events lay heavy on the young apprentice’s heart and soon despite all of his learning he could keep silent no more.

‘Master I must speak or I will go mad’. The monk turned with a knowing eye and smiled. ‘Speak son, I promise to hear you’. The young apprentice gulped took a deep breath and blurted out his misgivings. ‘Master,’ he cried, ‘Why did you fix the crack for the rich man who treated us so badly and kill the cow of the poor farmer who shared his home and food with us.

The master looked at his young apprentice and smiled. ‘Son you are about to learn a valuable lesson. The rich man is as you say a bad man but not as rich as he was. In the past he and his family took loans from poor folk, charged high interest for these loans and when people could not pay his rates he took their houses, their land, all they had. But since then he has less money and because of this he can no longer give such loans. Now hidden inside the building which was cracking is great treasure. If the rich man had fixed the crack himself he would have found this treasure and used the riches to destroy more innocent people. That is why I fixed it – to make sure he would never know what was hidden there.’

‘And the farmer who was so good and hospitable to us – I saw his death written in the stars so I prayed to the great spirits and they told me that the balance of the universe must be maintained so I asked an old cow with not many years left to live if she would give her life to save the farmer. She agreed and so the farmer lives.’

The young apprentice bowed his head in shame for doubting his beloved master. ‘Forgive me Master’,

‘Of course son,’ answered the master. ‘But now you will tell me the moral of this lesson you have learned from our journey to the outside world’.

‘The young apprentice lifted his head slowly and said, ‘That which takes the appearance of good fortune is not always a blessing and that which takes the appearance of misfortune is not always a curse.’ And of course he was right.

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