Lessons (3)

“One day the truth will be so remote that you will resent it for even existing,” said the demon. “When that time comes, little princeling, seek me out and I will tell you the truth behind truths; the secret that lies buried at the heart of the world.”

And with a laugh and a great heave, the demon fell back into its dark pit.

Nin ran from the cave and back into the fog; he ran blindly through the mist for what seemed like miles, for what seemed like hours, for what seemed like days.

When Nin returned home—bloody, muddied and exhausted—all that knew him saw that he was a changed rabbit. He was no longer the young, foolish Nin—he was now a seeker.

The years passed and Nin grew from a little princeling into a respectable prince. But never did he forget the demon’s words, always did they linger in the back of his mind. He gained allies, friends, comrades and lovers. And for a time he thought that they were the truth he sought.

He studied with the elders, heard their stories and gained their wisdom. He learned history and governance and law, and how he, when king, must dispense this law to others. And for a time he thought this was the truth he sought.

Nin pursued art; he composed poetry. He sought the very old, he desired the new and novel. And for a time he thought these things too, were truth.

Nin became lost. He saw wisdom in everything. He was comfortable, his belly was full and his mind occupied. A great peace had settled over the land. The rabbits celebrated, and he often celebrated with them. During these times the little truth within his heart rang loud, like the beating of a metal drum.

But when alone in the dead of night, when silence prevailed and the cold wind blew—Nin could not hear the little truth, no matter how hard he listened.

He remembered a teaching of his grandmother—that it is the foolish rabbit who talks the loudest. And Nin wondered if this wisdom applied to the truth that beat within his heart. And so, one night, he gathered a small contingent of retainers and left the burrow, never to return.

Nin and his entourage came to the mist-shrouded valley beyond which the demon lived. He wrinkled his nose, then turned and hopped away. He did not know where he was going. He knew only that the demon sought to destroy him, and that he must not seek it out. “Demons do not have truth,” thought Nin, “they can only lure with its promise.”

It was not that he had a destination in mind. He only knew that the demon would lie to him, and he reasoned that the truth would reside in the direction opposite of lies.

Away from the demon, away from his home. Away from lies, away from that which drowned out truth. This was the wisdom that guided him.

Thus began his pilgrimage.