A Wise Philosopher
Category: Wonders of Wisdom
Source: Laos Folk-lore Of Farther India
As a rich trader journeyed to another province, he rested by the road
under a tree, and, as he sat there, a poor young man approached and
asked that he might accompany him.
"Come," said the trader, and, as they journeyed, they came to a place
where there were many stones, indeed there was naught else to be seen.
"Here are there no stones," said the poor young man.
"You are right, here are no stones," replied the trader.
Soon they reached the shade of a large forest, and the young man said,
"Here are no trees."
"You are right, here are no trees," the trader assented.
When they reached a large village, the poor young man said,
"Here are no people."
"You are right," spake the trader, but he wondered what manner of man
might he be who knows nothing and has neither eyes nor ears. However, as
he returned home and the poor young man begged to accompany him, he
agreed and took him with him.
And, as they approached the trader's home his daughter called, "O
father, what have you brought?"
"Nothing but this foolish young man," answered the trader.
"Why do you call him a fool?" asked the daughter. "By his appearance and
manner I would judge he were the god of wisdom come down in man's form."
"I can see no wisdom in one who, when he can see but stones, says,
'There are no stones here,' or, when he is in the forest, says, 'Here
are no trees,' or, when in the midst of a populous village, says, 'There
is no man here,'" replied the trader.
"He meant, where the stones were all about, that none were precious;
where the forest was, that there was no teak, no wood good for man's
use; and, where the village was, there were no people, as the people had
all fallen away from the religion of Buddha, living but as beasts and
making no merit for the future life," argued the daughter.
"If you esteem him so highly, take him for your husband," said the
"If your daughter will have me as her husband, ever will I endeavor to
make the path on which she treads smooth and beautiful for her feet,"
cried the poor young man.
They were married and lived happily, and, upon a time, the head chow
summoned the trader to come watch his house during the night. Greatly
was the trader troubled. "I shall die this night," cried the trader.
"Why shall you die, my father?" asked the son-in-law, in great concern.
"The chow has called me to watch this night and for some time past he
has killed all who have watched for him; an evil spirit has possessed
him and he loves to punish with death the watchmen, for, he falsely says
they sleep and he has them killed but to satisfy the spirit in him,"
answered the trader.
"I will watch in thy stead," said the son-in-law. And fearlessly did he
go to the chow's, and, when midnight was come and the chow descended
secretly to see if the watchman slept, lo, the young man prayed aloud
for the god of wisdom to come teach him what to do. The chow, hearing
the sound of voices, listened, and heard one voice say, "The brave and
the strong govern themselves, then have they the power to govern others.
The wise make themselves loved because they are good and true, and are
served by others through love and not through fear," and another voice
steadily repeated the words. Three times during the night came the chow.
Each time the voice was speaking and being answered, and, lo, when the
eye of day opened in the East, the chow was found possessed of a kind
and loving spirit and no longer desired to destroy his people. The young
son-in-law of the trader was made a leader of the people, for the chow
declared unto all that the spirit of the god of wisdom dwelt in the
young man's heart, and, it came to pass that the whole land was blessed
because one young man had learned of the god of wisdom.
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