The Obliging Servant
"I ASKED you to send me more life, and you return with a mere youth who will not now give over the elixir!" he bellowed in rage.
"It is because it would be death for him to hand it over" explained the servant.
"Then take it from him!" came the desperate cry.
"I cannot Sir," replied the servant, "for it is not mine to take".
"Then I shall have to do it myself", thus saying, he swiftly snatched the vial from the young man's hand.
The youth did wither before their eyes, the flesh shrivelled back from the bone, the eyes from the sockets, and he collapsed in unspeakable mess of remains.
And as the devil-tyrant took tonic to lips, he enquired, "And what did you promise this time to this youth, that he might journey with you?"
The servant with eyes cast down upon the formless form, replied, "I promised that he should see one who is far greater than he. That he might be amazed at the power and grace of my Master, and he was eager to be received".
"Then you have fulfilled your promise" came the haughty reply, "you have done well by me. You may take rest for the moment, for come tomorrow I shall need you once again. Only this time, bring me more, for I am still not quite refreshed.”
Such it is with the devil of Conceit and his manservant False Pride, who with false promise does come to men to cajole the very life from them, if they but follow and give over their precious life to these two rogues.
IN the market there was a candy-seller, a woman of large and cumbersome proportions. She beamed with every trade encountered; she had such a sickly-sweet smile. Old and young would come and eye over her table, where there laid out was a rich display. So colorful, so sweet, so enticing were these pieces crafted and fashioned in so many shapes. There were animals delicately sculptured from the sugar, there were miniature houses spun with fretwork laced with crystalline fruits and ginger hue, there were carts that had wheels made of fancy chocolate that moved, and held within small trifling of peppermint and rose bon bons.
Many admired her trolley, and had to part with their money for this extravagance. You might have heard of this woman before in the latter part of her life for which she is notorious. However, she had found the one weakness of men which made for great barter, and was forever successful in that market.
Oddly enough the woman cared not for the sweets herself. It was with much distaste that she watched the eager hand reach and choose from her colorful array. For her passion in extravagance was particular to human flesh - instead of bearing children, as most women are wont to do, she would consume them. But no one guessed this secret; they were so unsuspecting of this "sweet lady" of the market place.
The orphans who did approach the stall, were invited home to survey her goods. They would wait all day until she had sold all pieces, and would ride the trolley back, never to return to that market again. It was odd that she was thought of as kindly and as such a Good Samaritan. But then, not always are things as they seem.
How often we surrender to the witch of lascivious gratification. We pay quite happily without care for the orphans of the world. Were that those monies imparted had gone to good purpose - and if in excess, to be given over for a real meal for one who has not. We are persuaded all too easily by that which appears delightfully enchanting but has little or no nourishment to sustain the body or mind. This witch deceived the innocents, and also those who cared not to know, for she was the rogue of Lust's Submission.
The Unknown Passage
THERE was an old man who was loathsome to behold. For his teeth had moved in the jaw and did not fit properly; his hair was unkempt, his eyes with milk-blindness; his features were sunken and gave no hint whatsoever of his former portrait in youth.
One day there came by him a distraught soldier who was on his way to his first commission. The young man had been weeping and the old crow of a man went to his assistance.
"Come, come, my young fellow", he croaked, "Why do you cry so mournfully?"
"What would you know, old man?" The young soldier protested. "You have been given more than your fill of life, and I, at such an early age will be deprived of mine!"
"Then perhaps I should go in place of you, and in return you may live that life which I have endured? Would this be your will?"
The bewildered young man was confused with fear, and now with such uncommon speculation. He bethought this to be a mocking jest, and answered so: "Oh yes, old man, I shall trade you my destiny which is doomed, for a piece of those years and your destiny's past."
"So be it." The elderly one sighed, and instantly the two were transfigured.
During the next sixty years or so the youth became as old, and with many a struggle and a battle of kind, he had come to the end of his days to find experience was behind him and poverty a’front. His limbs were beginning to fail; he was still much tormented by those dreams that were as yet unfulfilled.
He now spent his days at the roadside watching the traffic go to and fro. He had felt cheated when thought that his life lived was not of his own - that he should never come to know, what might have been were it under his directive and not just the mere reproduction of another's.
He had pondered as to what had become of his perpetual partner, until one day when a young soldier came by. He recognized his face all at once, for this was his face, his very own he had long ago worn!
"Do you not know me?" he croaked, to the youth there before him.
"No old man, I do not know you. Should I?" replied the soldier, as he flung a few copper coins at his feet.
"I am Fate.,” the old man murmured as he gazed with great intent.
"Pleased to meet you, and fare you well! For I am the Conscious Will and must now go my way", and so saying departed with a laugh and a wave, cheerio.We may all assume the life of destiny, or live the life of one with free will. There is a marriage of both in a man, who throughout the course of life is offered both limitations and possibilities, concurrently. We are wise to discern which is which and one from another, and be content with both, for they are brothers… brothers out of time.
The Needy and the WorthyA YOUNG monk went to the coffers of his monastery and stole away all that was there to be had. He had a conscience which provoked him and spoke to him that the wealth might be served better - and so departed the in holy calling, taking from the community all of their treasured savings.
No sooner had he left the confines of the monastery was he beset by a group of thieves, who asked of him to display that which he bore, straddled in bags, a weight on his horse.
Honesty was most valued in righteousness, and therefore the monk did speak truthfully when replying, "I have a parcel of much treasure, which I intend to distribute to the needy".
The thieves were suspicious of this, but took the monk to be a fool - "Well my friend, you have come to find the most needy! We are they, hand it over!"
"I believe you to be in need of counselling" the monk replied, "but how am I to know if you are in need of finance. You appear to have much fat around the girth, and much vigour in your step. I had not you in mind, when I did rob and plunder that from my brother monks."
"From one robber to another, let us eat together and discuss this a little further?" They asked. And so the monk was shuffled amongst them and made to take food, on this, his day of fast.
The twilight came and many a speech was bandied, until the black of night could mask their treacherous intent. The thieves fell upon the monk all at once and stifled him to his death. They then grabbed upon his bags and tore them to pieces to empty the contents- scythes and tongs, wheat-seed and millet, axe heads and nails, and texts about the mysteries of good farming.
They disgustedly hurled the monk's 'treasure' to the ground, stripping the baggage to pieces in vain attempt to uncover some jewels or some gold.
"Useless!" they cried, as they kicked the corpse; and then departed.Oft times charity is so rebuked, even when it is offering that which is most needed. One must discern wisely, no matter how good the intent, as to who is best fitted to receive those treasures and make good use of them. The monk met with dishonesty unto himself and then with the thieves - the men who would not choose an honest living, and required of him so much more than he could offer. Even honesty may be turned corrupt, when so taken to be the very opposite. It is better to give of oneself, in word or in deed, sparingly, and withhold much initially, lest it be all lost to those who are unworthy, and shall by their evil, defeat the good intention that it may not find its way to those who would gracefully and gratefully receive it.