“When I was a child,” the Knight began, “that is—I used to live on an island, by the shore. Whenever a storm came, the ocean would churn and crash against the seawall, and from my tower, I would stare out the window and watch the waves come in. I remember—there was this old man, a crabber, who lived alone by the sea. Whenever a storm rolled in, which was often, he would go out to greet it.Continue reading
Once there was a group of rabbits who lived and frolicked on the plains beneath a certain mountain. Theirs was a fertile land, and although the rabbits thrived – fat on the prairie-flowers and wild-berries that grew there – they were also under constant siege. Wolves, hawks and foxes too, made the plains their home.
To combat these threats the rabbits of the plains devised an ingenious solution – the vivisector – an artificial carapace, lined with brier thorns, that they mounted on their backs, much like a turtle does a shell.
Any predator that dared to attack a rabbit in search of a tasty morsel found instead a sharp surprise. Predators learned to avoid any rabbit with a carapace; all warren production shifted towards mass vivisector manufacture.
The first vivisectors were crude, makeshift things, soon perfected into sharp and deadly instruments.
Rabbits became emboldened, openly challenging the predators.
After a long and bloody campaign, the rabbits came to dominate the plains. The predators left the land entirely in search of easier game. Rabbit deaths plummeted, the warren rejoiced. They had accomplished the great dream of all rabbits: a country ruled by the meek.
But without any predators to cull the population, the warren soon became overcrowded, fit to burst.
Under normal circumstances, perhaps a group of rabbits would have split off from the main burrow and made their own warren in a distant land. But the plains were rich in resources, and the rabbits, who had secured their home with blood, were not keen to abandon their hard-earned paradise.
Instead, the rabbits of the plains turned their vivisectors on each other. They had the means now, to defend and take what was theirs. Every rabbit was equipped. The machines of war turned inwards. Murder incited murder, paranoia ran rampant. A great but quiet cull began. Soon the leading cause of death among the rabbits of the plains was not predator, but vivisector.
Rabbits ceased their frolicking. No one played, no one danced. The plains became killing grounds, became empty. Rabbits stayed safe in their homes beneath the earth. When they did emerge from their burrows to forage, they ate greedily, quickly, suspicious eyes darting between their neighbors. Those that could, stockpiled private stores. Others went hungry.
Vivisector spikes grew longer, sharper, with poison tips and quills.
Rabbits huddled in their homes, fiercely protective of their hoards.
And the burrows ceased to be a warren, but a mere collection of individuals.
And when Nin came to that land, he found a plain without predators, with enough and plenty to make every rabbit fat. He thought it a paradise until he dared to peek inside a burrow, and found naught but a collection of half-crazed, half-starved rabbits, hiding in their holes, adorned with thorns, murder in their eyes.
There are many tales in the animal kingdom of great work—and great effort. As Nin considered his next move, two similar stories jumped out at him: the story of the crow and the story of the donkey, both of which I will now briefly relate:Continue reading
“Wisdom Trap.” Nin had used this phrase before, had thought the words to be true, but he didn’t yet have a proper, tangible, working definition. It tingled just outside his perception, his mind grasped for it, but he could not see it clearly.
Nin decided to ruminate on these words—his words—and decide for himself what he meant.Continue reading
Here is a story from the time when Nin lived at home, and was a still a prince among rabbits:
Nin was playing with the other young rabbits in the meadow, hopping without care or worry, without counting his misfortunes or his blessings. One of the smaller rabbits approached the prince and showed Nin his treasure: a perfect four-leaf clover.Continue reading
A wise master lived on the far side of the forest. So early one morning Nin, hoping the master might take him as a student, set off on the winding, narrow road that lead through the woods to the master’s house.Continue reading