92 PARABOLA The Wise and the l Foolish Merchants Buddhist N...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: 92 ' PARABOLA The Wise and the l Foolish Merchants Buddhist N THE LONG AGO DAYS, there were two merchants, one a wise man, the other one with no wisdom at all. Now as it happened, both merchants had loaded up their wagons, five hundred each, and both were planning to head towards the same desert , city at the same time. The foolish merchant was eager to start out. The wise merchant thought I" first. And the wise merchant said to the foolish one, “A thousand wagons traveling together on the same route at the same time will surely be too much for that desert land to support. There will not be enough food or water for all those men and all those oxen. We cannot travel together. Would you rather go first or follow later?” The foolish merchant said without thinking, “I will go first! That way I’ll have a road untouched by wagon Wheels, my oxen will get the first grass, my men will find the first edible plants, and we will have undis- turbed water. And I will be able to put whatever price I want on my goods! Yes, I will go first.” But the wise merchant thought it all through. The first wagons would smooth down the tough road, making it easier for his wagons to pass. The first oxen would eat the rough desert grass, giving the second oxen sweet new grass to eat. The same would be true of the edible plants. And if the first caravan found no surface water, the men would have to dig wells. The second caravan would be able to use them. And by the time the wise mer— chant reached the city, the foolish merchant would have done all the work of arranging prices. “Very well,” he said, “I will follow.” So the foolish merchant yoked his oxen to his wagons and set out. The way was rough and the grass was tough. When the caravan came to a well, . the foolish merchant filled up all the caravan’s huge water jars with water ’ before they set out again into the deepest part of the desert. That was his only bit of Wisdom. ’- Now, a ghoulish yak/aha lived in the desert, and secretly watched the car- i avan approach. He transformed himself into the likeness of a lord in rich silks and gold jewelry, and conjured up a carriage for himself and atten— : ' ' ,: 5. 4. ,, FALL 2004 - dants. Then the crafty yak/61921 added the illusion that he, his carriage, and his clothes were wet, and that he wore a wreath of water lilies. He rode out to meet the caravan, and greeted the foolish merchant politely. The foolish merchant noticed only the richness of the false lord’s clothing, and the wetness dripping from him. “Did it rain while you were on the road?” he asked. “Or did you find a pool with water lilies growing?” “Surely you jest!” the yakkba cried. “Do you not know that just beyond that far hill there lies a land full of water? It is forever raining there, and there are lakes aplenty with water lilies growing in them. Are those not huge, heavy water jugs burdening your wagons?” “Yes, they are.” “So, now! You were wise to carry water with you this far. But with so much water just ahead, you need no longer slow down your caravan and tire out your oxen by lugging such a heavy load. Why not throw the jugs away and reach your destination so much sooner?” With that, the yak/eh: pretended to ride quickly away, and soon was hidden again in the desert. The foolish merchant believed everything the yakkha had said. He thought only of the profit he would make, and destroyed all the water jugs. It was his most foolish mistake. There was no water, only desert and more desert. The men and the oxen grew parched and weary, and at last collapsed. Then the ya/ek/m came out of hiding, slew them all, and devoured them down to the bare bones. After a month had passed, the wise merchant set out with his caravan. He, too, filled all his water jars. Sure enough, the ya/ek/m spotted them. He came 93 94 ' PARABOLA riding boldly forward in his disguise as a water—drenched, richly clad lord. But the wise merchant refused to let himself be fooled by what only seemed to be. “Get away from us!” he ordered. “We want nothing to do with you!” So fierce was his cry that the yak/aha fled. But the wise merchant’s men were puzzled. “Sir, why did you chase that noble lord away? And _ why did you nor wish to listen to him? If we cast the heavy water jugs ‘ 5 away, we can reach that rain-wet land of which he spoke, and travel ‘ i on quickly from there.” “Do not be fools,” the wise merchant told them all. “Has anyone among you ever heard that there might be a lake or other water in all this desert land?” “No, sir,” they admitted. “This is known as the Waterless Desert.” “And as for rain, have any of you seen even the top of even a single storm cloud? Or felt even the slightest touch of a rain—wind?” “No, sir,” they admitted. > “Has any man here seen a flash of lightning or heard a roar of thunder?” " “No, sir,” they admitted. “Precisely!” the wise merchant said. “Did any among you actually look clearly at that finely clad and soaking wet lord?” '3 Now the men were confused. “No, sir.” i “Ah, but I did! He had red eyes, too red to have been caused by water in them. He claimed there was water where I knew there was none. And strangest of all, he cast no shadow. That was no man, but a yakkbal He hoped that he could trick us into caSting away our water ‘ so that we would be weakened. Then he would kill and eat us. Now . let us hurry on. Where there is one yakk/m, there may be more.” ’ Soon the wise merchant and his caravan came across the sad ruin of the foolish merchant’s caravan. The wise merchant ordered his men 1 to put the wagons in a circle, with the oxen and themselves safely . within the ring. He posted guards to stand watch, swords drawn, all that night. 1 And no yak/aha dared approach. 3 At daybreak the merchant and his caravan continued on to their destination, where he sold his goods and made himself and his men a nice profit. He and his caravan returned home again without the loss of a single man. And so it was that the foolish merchant came to utter destruction, while the wise merchant, spurning the yak/aka} lies and clinging to the truth, escaped all danger. ——Reta/d by fosepbzz Sherman, from thefamleas Copied for online use by students enrolled in BEM 261 at Wake Forest University, Fall 2016 only. Reprint rights retained by Joseph Sherman. These pages extracted from Parabola Magazine, Fall 2004 — Volume 29 Issue No. 3 ISSN 0362-1596. ...
View Full Document

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern