The Traveler

A certain man was walking down a road, enjoying the beautiful scenery. After a while, he stopped to rest.

Before long, a man in a suit came along and approached him where he sat. Some brief introductions ensued before the suited man declared: “Do you see that mountain in the distance? That is where you should be walking. The climb is difficult, but the views are the most sublime in the world. I should know, because I am the world’s best mountaineer.” The first man eyed the suit, the well-polished loafers, and the hands free of calluses, before thanking the man for his advice. The suited man continued on.

After a while, a woman came to the man and sat with him. Together they talked for a while, and the subject turned to food, and the man’s wish for a meal. “You should come with me!” the woman declared. “I am heading to a distant restaurant where I am the head chef and will make for you a feast, for I am the best chef in the world!” The man observed the woman’s poor satchel, with its small piece of moldy bread and a bottle of brackish water. He thanked her for the offer, and she continued on without him.

As the man sat on his rock, he thought to himself: “Two people have come to me, offering to help and claiming to be the best at what they do. But from my observations I do not see how this could be. They offered me no evidence other than their words.”

These thoughts consumed him. As the day waned, a third traveler approached, and sat with him. “What is your story, friend?” the man asked. The weary traveler said “As I have walked this road, many have come to me offering help. They see my bent back and shuffling gait and claim that just over yonder is something that will help me. Every time I have followed them, I have been disappointed. The inn is always too distant, the food already eaten, the wine already drunk. But I am still a long way from my journey’s end, so I must continue on.”

The man considered this for a moment and said, “I, too, have been disappointed by those who have approached me. Their words taste sweet, but are bitter in my belly. But I am glad for your company. Come, let us walk together so that we will not be alone, and perhaps we may find rest together.”

They stood, the man took the travelers pack, and they departed with quick steps and light hearts.

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