The Owl

Here is a story from when Nin was young, and still a prince among rabbits:

Nin was sitting under a great old tree, and the rain trickled down through the palms and wet his head and fell on his nose. The rainstorm had come out of nowhere. Nin was irritated. He was cold and miserable, and with nothing to distract him from his coldness and miserableness, his irritation only increased.

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Wan-ui Receives Praise

Wan-ui, the black rabbit, Nin’s faithful retainer—still she searched for her old master. At every warren or burrow or watering hole she’d ask the animals there for help in locating the lost prince. Had they met him? Had they seen him? Had they heard rumours of a travelling rabbit, more noble than all the rest?

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The Wretched

Nin joined the great march to the east. There he walked among the old, the sick and the hungry. Rabbits of all castes and creeds and colours. It was a great mass moving as one, and in their hearts they were one. Their shared suffering had overridden all former divisions, now they all belonged to one group: the vanquished.

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Diddle Diddle

Nin came upon a farm. In his younger days he would have disparaged the animals here as tame and dull, but now he was a little older, and a little wiser and thought perhaps they warranted further evaluation.

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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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