The Wisdom Trap

“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.

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Once again he could feel its approach. The great dread, the great tiredness. The overwhelming urge to quit, to retire. It was the feeling that told him that all his efforts were vanity, that wisdom was a trap.

The black dread came like the lapping of a tide, always it seemed inevitable, at most he was throwing rocks against the sea, beating it off for a time, yet knowing it would return again in force.

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The Funeral

Nin woke to an odd sound. At first, as he was roused awake, he thought the deafening noise was some kind of oncoming storm or hurricane. But as his senses came flooding back to him, he recognized the sound to be the beating of wings—hundreds, perhaps thousand of them!

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Nin Learns to Breathe

“The first step is learning to breathe,” said the wise monkey.

“Learning to breathe?” asked Nin.

“Learning to breathe,” repeated the monkey. “It is the core of all martial prowess. If you wish to run with the swiftness of a cheetah, first you must learn how to breathe. If you wish to catch a hunter’s arrow as it races towards you, first you must learn how to breathe. If you wish to cut your foe in twain with one fell strike, first you must learn how to breathe.”

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Lone Mountain

There stood in the middle of a low valley a tall and noble mountain. This was a rogue mountain not part of any range or mountainous region. Its base was surrounded by rolling hills of sweet grass, its slopes were adorned by tall fir trees, its great icy tip pierced the heavens themselves.

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Arctic Hare (3)

The winter was long and cruel and Nin suffered greatly. Each day was a struggle for survival—food was scarce and hard to come by. The cold was pervasive, Nin was never warm. Predators were everywhere.

There was little time for idleness, he could hardly stop to scratch his nose before the arctic hare was upon him, telling him to do this or that.

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Arctic Hare (2)

The arctic hare applied a white, talcum-like powder to Nin’s fur. The powder stuck to the smaller rabbit, turning his coat a pale white. “You are very lucky,” said the arctic hare. “That temperate fur of yours stuck out like a sore paw. If some bear or fox had found you before I had—”

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