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by Aesop
Rated: E · Fiction · Philosophy · #2081193
A parable of sorts.
The Three Men and the Mountain Sage

One day, the emperor heard tell of a wise sage who lived on top of a nearby mountain. The emperor, who was a great student of philosophy, sent three of his men to the mountain to learn and bring back a lesson from the sage. These three men climbed the mountain together until they found the sage meditating on a cliff of the highest peak.

The first man approached.

“Oh mountain sage,” he said, “give me a lesson in wisdom and I will offer you wealth - more gold than you can carry.”

“Wealth?” asked the sage. “What would I do with such wealth? There are no shops here on the mountain in which to spend it, and more gold than I can carry seems like a heavy burden indeed. No, I have no lesson for you in wisdom. Begone.”

The second man approached.

“Oh mountain sage,” he said, “give me a lesson in wisdom and I will offer you power - authority over great tracts of land and a voice in the imperial court.”

“Power?” asked the sage. He gestured out to the magnificent view of the mountain ranges. “See my domain? I own this view as much as anyone. As for a voice, I already have an emperor asking for my advice. This seems power enough to me. Begone, I have no lesson in wisdom for you.”

As the third man approached, it began to rain.

“Oh mountain sage,” he said, “give me a lesson in wisdom.”

“And what do you offer me in return?” asked the sage.

“My umbrella,” said the third man.

Smiling, the mountain sage took the umbrella and said, “it seems you've already learned the lesson.”
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