PARABLE FROM A BOOK

Posted: March 29, 2014 in Thoughts on Reading

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It’s been a while since I have posted anything. I have been reading The way of Kings, which is not a short book. 1,000 pages. I won’t tell you what I think of it yet but I can tell you I am almost finished so I should have my review up In a few days.

As I have been reading I have occasionally come across a passage that I really liked. In this case a parable told in the book that I just wanted to share. The parable is told by Dalinar to High prince Sadeas. He is quoting a story from the book The way of kings he has been having read to him. It tells the story of a king who took a journey down a long road. Enjoy the story I really liked this passage.

“I walked from Abambar to Urithiru. In this, the metaphor and experience are one, inseparable to me like my mind and memory. One contains the other, and though I can explain one to you, the other is only for me.

 
“I strode this insightful distance on my own, and forbade attendants. I had no steed beyond my well-worn sandals, no companion besides a stout staff to offer conversation with its beat against the stone. My mouth was to be my purse; I stuffed it not with gems, but with song. When singing for sustenance failed me, my arms worked well for cleaning a floor or hog pen, and often earned me satisfactory reward.

 
“Those dear to me took fright for my safety and, perhaps, my sanity. Kings, they explained, do not walk like beggars for hundreds of miles. My response was that if a beggar could manage that feat, then why not a king? Did they think me less capable than a beggar?

 
“Sometimes I think that I am. The beggar knows much that a king can only guess. And yet who draws up the codes for begging ordinances? Often I wonder what my experience in life – my easy life following the desolation, and my current level of comfort – has given me of any true experience to making laws. If we had to rely on what we knew, Kings would only be of use in creating laws regarding the proper heating of tea and cushioning of thrones

 
“Regardless I made the trip and – as the astute reader has already concluded – survived it. The stories of its excitements will stain a different page in this narrative, for first I must explain my purpose in walking this strange path. Though I was quite willing to let my family think me insane, I would not leave the same as my cognomen upon the winds of history

 
“My family travelled to Urithiur via the direct method, and had been awaiting me for weeks when I arrived. I was not recognized at the gate, for my mane had grown quite robust without a razor to tame it. Once I revealed myself, I was carried away, primped, fed, worried over, and scolded in precisely that order. Only after all of this was through was I finally asked the purpose of my excursion. Couldn’t I have just taken the simple, easy, and common route to the holy city?

 
“For my answer I removed my sandals and proffered my calloused feet. They were comfortable upon the table beside my half-consumed tray of grapes. At this point, the expression of my companions proclaimed that they thought me daft, and so I explained by relating the stories of my trip. One after another, like stacked sacks of tallew, stored for the winter season. I would make flatbread of them soon, and then stuff it between these pages

 
“Yes I could have travelled quickly. But all men have the same ultimate destination. Whether we find our end in a hallowed sepulchres or a pauper’s ditch, all save the heralds themselves must dine with the night watcher

 
“And so, does the destination matter? Or is it the path we take? I declare that no accomplishment has substance nearly as great as the road used to achieve it. We are not creatures of destinations. It is the journey that shapes us. Our callused feet, our backs strong from carrying the weight of our travels, our eyes open with the fresh delight of experiences lived

 
“in the end, I must proclaim that no good can be achieved for false means. For the substance of our existence is not in the achievement, but in the method. The monarch must understand this; he must not become so focused on what he wishes to accomplish that he diverts his gaze from the path he must take to arrive there”

 

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