The Third Meeting

“Why listen to me? Why trust me?” asked the bluebird. “For all you know, I may be a demon in disguise, leading you astray!”

“I doubt that very much,” replied Nin.

“Well, still, I do not want you to rely on me. Do not call me ‘master!’ I would hate you if you did.” The bluebird danced on its two tiny feet. “Do me a favour—find a creature that hates bluebirds; despises them. Listen to their advice, ask them many questions, learn their way of life. Will you do this thing for me? If nothing else, they will have an interesting perspective, and that is valuable in and of itself.”

“What if they tell me you are a liar?”

“I am perfectly content with being called a liar,” said the bluebird. “Or a fool, or a charlatan. My wisdom is for me alone. If you find it helpful, that is a very good thing, a welcome bonus. But if my wisdom is wrong, tell me, convince me, and I will adopt to a new wisdom.”

“So readily?”

“I have no loyalty to something simply because it is mine, if it no longer has any value I will discard it.”

And the bluebird sang a sweet melody. It was soft, and slow, more like a koan than a song. It sounded something like this:

“One day, a raven found a bar of gold lying in a ditch. He danced and laughed and thought himself lucky. But when he wrapped his claws around his prize, he found the bar was so heavy he couldn’t move it, not even an inch. Perhaps a wiser bird would have abandoned the gold, but the raven refused to let it go. His talons dug into the soft metal. He pecked and snapped at anybody who came near. The next day it rained, and the ditch was flooded, and the raven, still clutching his gold, was drowned! What a worthless bar of gold it was!”