One day a traveller was walking along a road. As he walked he noticed a monk working in the fields beside the road. The traveller turned to the monk and asked, ‘Excuse me, do you mind if I ask you a question?’
‘Not at all,’ replied the monk.
‘I am travelling from the village in the mountains to the village in the valley and I was wondering if you knew what it is like in the village in the valley?’
‘What was your experience of the village in the mountains?’ asked the monk.
‘Awful,’ replied the traveller. ‘I found the people most unfriendly. The villagers don’t take kindly to strangers. So tell me, what can I expect in the village in the valley?’
‘I am sorry,’ said the monk, ‘I think your experience will be much the same there.’ The traveller thanked him despondently and walked on.
Later that day another traveller was walking down the same road and he also came upon the monk.
‘I’m going to the village in the valley,’ said the second traveller. ‘Do you know what it is like?’
‘I do,’ replied the monk, ‘but first tell me – where have you come from?’
‘I’ve come from the village in the mountains.’
‘And how was that?’
‘Wonderful! I felt very much at home. Everyone was so helpful and the people were kind and generous. I am sad to have left there. And what of the village in the valley?’ he asked again.
‘I think you will find it much the same,’ replied the monk. ‘Good day to you.’
‘Thank you,’ the traveller replied. He smiled, and continued on his way.
How to Books, 2007
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