Today I needed motivation, and somehow, without having to search for it I found it. I don’t believe in coincidences, so I took it as a gift from God, life, or fortune; however you want to call it.
I met this man from Israel and there was an instant connection between us. It was the first time I’d seen him in my life, and yet, we were able to talk about topics I would only discuss with my closer friends.
During our conversation, he shared with me the story I’m about to tell you:
There was once a very wise man who had a young apprentice. The wise man and the apprentice lived together, and the apprentice would follow the wise man’s teachings and advice all of the time.
One day the wise man decided it would be a good idea to travel, and his apprentice followed him. They didn’t take much with them, and simply walked through different towns, and through various forests. During their journey they saw a very little house far on the horizon. As they got closer they saw three very happy children playing outside the house. However, the playground was very unkempt, and the area looked dirty and poor. The little house didn’t look any better; it was small, the roof was deteriorating and falling on the ground, the walls were stained, and the main door was cracked.
The wise man knocked on the door and a pleasant man opened it. The pleasant man invited the wise man and his apprentice to come inside, and said:
- You are my guests, and you are welcome in my house. Please take a seat, get comfortable, and I will serve you something to eat and drink.
Inside of the house, there were only a few simple chairs and a small bed. Meanwhile, the wise man began to chat with the pleasant man as his apprentice simply sat quietly listening to them. The wise man asked how he and his children could survive like this, and the pleasant man replied:
- Wise man, we have a little cow that gives us milk everyday. You use the milk to drink and to make fresh cheese and butter. Then, I take the milk that is left over, and I walk for a week until I get to the closest town, and there, I exchange the milk for some bread or grains.
The wise man and his apprentice spent the night at this little house, and the next morning they left. The pleasant man gave them some bread, milk, and cheese to take, and wished them a good journey. As the wise man and his apprentice walked away, the wise man said:
- My young apprentice, could you do something for me?
- Of course, you are so wise, I will do anything you ask me to do.
- I want you to go to that house and search for the little cow. Then, I want you to take the cow with you, and push it next to a cliff. Make sure the cow dies.
*Disclaimer: this is not based on a real life story, and the characters are metaphorical. I have nothing against cows, and I wouldn’t push a little cow down a cliff. In fact, little cows are one of my favorite animals.*
When the apprentice heard what the wise man wanted he got extremely upset.
- Wise man, how can you ask me to do something like that? That poor man and his family depend on that cow, they survive thanks to that little cow.
- Young apprentice, please, just do what I tell you.
The apprentice did what the wise man had requested, but felt extremely bothered about it. He couldn’t believe he had done something so horrendous to such a pleasant man and his happy kids. He couldn’t understand how such a wise man had requested such an “evil” deed.
Some years went by, and the apprentice still couldn’t forget himself about what he had done to that poor family. For this reason, the apprentice decided to travel by himself, and to go back to the little house and confess what he had done. He was decided to work for as long as needed to replace the little cow he had taken away from this family, and he got ready and began his journey.
However, as the apprentice got closer to the little house, he noticed that the house wasn’t so little anymore. In fact, it looked like a beautiful big house, with lots of beautiful windows through which the bright sun could shine. There were colorful flowers surrounding the house, the playground was well-kept, the grass was green, and the trees were strong. The roof had orange shingles, which contrasted with the white and clean walls of the house. There were three older and very happy children playing on the ground, and the apprentice recognized them.
The apprentice went to the front of the house, and knocked on a big and ornamented wood door. The pleasant man opened the door and said:
- Welcome there my old friend, I remember you from a few years ago. Please come in and be my guest again.
When the apprentice entered the house he noticed how beautiful it looked inside. He couldn’t believe his eyes and asked:
- Pleasant man, what has happened? How did your life change so much? You own a beautiful house now, and you seem even happier than before.
- Yes, my life changed after you and the wise man left my house. The morning you left, we found the little cow we had dead. We were very sad, and I didn’t know how I was going to survive without it. But, thanks to that event, which I considered unfortunate at first, I was forced to do things I would have never done. Thanks to that, I learned new skills, I became a better and stronger person, and my life changed completely.