Friday, 26 October 2007

How many sparrows are we worth? (A Handful of Sparrows)

If you have a gift of doing things with words, learn to keep your mouth shut. When you feel witty remember that a good joke never won over an enemy but often lost a friend. The right word can save a life but a bright one can put it on the line. Treasure then the clever word and use it sparingly, at the time of need. This reminds me of a story:

Nasreddin was at one time a hermit high on the mountain, where no tree endures, where his peace of mind was preserved from renown by the sharp wind and the rolling stones. In silence, he understood everything, and his wisdom grew so vast that he even knew that which he did not know.

Two young princes thought to mock this notorious sage.

"Let's go to him and try him. When we get there, you will hide a sparrow in your hands, behind your back. We will ask him what we brought. He will guess, maybe. But then we will ask, "Does it live?" If he says yes, you wring its neck. If he says no, we show it alive.""

As they said, they did.

They travelled for a long while and tired often and almost renounced. At last they arrived. When he saw them panting at the entrance of the cave the old man greeted them with a pleasant smile:

"Welcome young blue-blooded princes! So you came with the sparrow.“

The two pranksters blushed angrily.

"Yes, yes, but does it live?"

Nasreddin, suddenly worried, looked at each of them in turn, humbly, scratched his head, then smiled with that deep, unbearable sympathy for all sentient beings and whispered very, very carefully:

"It's in your hands! it's in your hands!".

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