He went to the mountains to get away from the talkers, the screamers whose recorded voices chattered continuously and everywhere as from the sky. Did they know everything about living well, as they claimed? Were they all-seeing or merely all-seen? With these question in his heart he went into the mountains away from the giant faces hovering above the city.
In the quietness in the valley among the snowy peaks he silently waged war in his mind and his heart. Old books were his companions. He read the Eight Ancient Sages: Chuang Tzu, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Plato, Aristotle, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Matthew. When he was done reading he sat and thought for a very long time. He returned to the city years later, light of step and enlightened.
He saw the world with new eyes.
The giant faces of the city were simply fame-seekers and money-seekers. Everything they said and did was filled with hooks to gain themselves followers and money. Nothing was pure of the poison of ambition. People had too long forgotten what a sage was. And he cried to the charlatans,
“Every word uttered with a thought of reward is worthless. If the temptation is too great, seek rather poverty and humility than fame, and your example will shine for ages.”
They ignored him, for their lies had infected even their own hearts so that they believed that fame and money were the only ways of spreading truth.
“Do you believe that you see what is true? If you do, live that truth. Hold to the quiet center of your knowledge and do not waver. Perhaps once you found a little truth, and your followers called you enlightened, and in the lust kindled by praise and for praise your little truth fled and your heart forgot. You did not hold to your quiet center.”
But he was a man from the mountains and his words were bitter, and none of the teachers listened for long, and went on with their chattering and yelling.
“Who will teach these teachers?” he asked himself. “My voice is too weak for the task, and I don’t like to scream from the sky as they do.” And he left them.
Ignoring the big faces he began to notice all the advocates. Some advocated tradition, some advocated progress. Most advocates argued and fought bitterly all day, on the steps of the city hall and in the darkest corner of the poorest tavern. They argued and fought without hope of ultimately victory, though they all dreamed of fixing the world.
“You put your hope in government,” he told the advocates in the tavern. “But when has your government ever hoped? When will you stop trying to govern the government and start trying to govern yourselves?”
“That’s exactly what we want to do!” they protested. “That’s why we need to change the government!”
“You want to change the government because you believe you are smarter than the government. But if you are smarter than the government why do you need a government? If the government believes you are not having enough children it will tax the childless. If the government believes you are too stupid they will pay people to educate you. But all of this shows the government’s stupidity because some need more children and some need less. Some need more education and some need less. Why don’t you decide for yourself?”
“Are you saying we need no government?” they said. “We already have a name for that. It is called anarchy.”
“No, I am saying you need wisdom and self-knowledge. Anarchy is your name for the opposite, for stupidity. I am not an anarchist but a sage.”
They nodded but their eyes revealed their thoughts: You will never overthrow they government, it doesn’t matter if you are an anarchist or a sage.
The sage stood and raised his voice and preached to the tavern: “The true rebel has a soul and everything he does is for his soul. The true rebel gives all he has to his children and his animals and his plants and his friends.”
But none listened. They glanced at him but turned back to the windows to see the chattering faces in the sky.
He said: “You have hungry hearts that do not give. Your hungry hearts eat too much and rip everything to shreds. Your hearts are so hungry they pay blood for sand until they are empty tattered sacks filled with sand and no blood. Sand is too heavy to pump. And that is why your souls are dead.”
Some of them enjoyed his poetry and listened for a time. And word spread through the city of a great poet who traveled from tavern to tavern and from great hall to great hall preaching the death of the soul. And the book-makers came to the sage and offered him wagons of gold to write his poetry in books and have his poetry told by the chatterers in the sky. They said his name would be on the lips of every educated man and woman and he would live in a mansion with a hundred servants. He would never have to worry again and all day and night he could write his beautiful poetry.
He told these book-makers that they were soulless devils. The book-makers clapped him on the back and smiled with pleasure. They gave him an automobile and a house on the beach with a hundred reams of paper and promised him women. He waited for the book-makers to drive away satisfied and he wandered down the beach to a sea-side town. He gave the keys of his new mansion to a beggar. A woman passing by marveled and took photographs. He turned to her and said,
“Here is what it means to have a giving heart. A giving heart asks for nothing. If a giving heart has only three pearls in the world, it tosses them before swine. If you give what is most valuable freely, you buy your soul from God.”
“By giving your house away you win your soul?” she said.
“No, by giving you my honest words.” And he wandered from town to town until he found a place where none recognized him. By this time he had very long hair and a long beard and he was very hungry.
He found an orchard where masked men were spraying poison on an orchard.
“Stop this!” he told them. “You use masks because you do not want to be with your trees and your animals. If you spend your days with your trees and animals and love them with presence, that presence will grow and your gardens will overflow with life. You will not need poison.” They smiled vacantly at this advice and offered him fruit of every variety. He ignored the gnawing in his belly and wandered away without eating.
He came upon a great mystery, a vast roofless hall with velvet carpets and a throne, and upon the throne a small boy with a crown. People came from far away to see this child and hail his genius and hear him speak. The child did not meet anyone’s eyes but only stared at the moon. He preached to the crowd saying, “Stop learning and start creating.” And before their eyes he numbered the craters on the dark side of the moon and told them the number of galaxies in the universe. And he told them a lengthy story about a naked princess from Venus and a blood-thirsty warrior from Mars.
I must be in a dream, he thought. The boy started screaming, an inhuman wail as from a beast. His mother quickly pulled a piece of meat out of her purse and tossed it before him. He pounced and gnawed it like a beast and was calm.
The sage gathered his courage and pressed through the suffocating crowd to the throne. The mother blocked his way and said, “You cannot understand that boy’s mind. He is a world-genius of the first rank!” He took her purse and dumped out the bits of meat and trampled them underfoot. The boy began his wail. The sage gripped his staff firmly and gave him a blow on the rear. The boy’s wail grew louder. He struck him again. The boy’s wail grew so loud and bestial that the crowd dispersed and the mother collapsed in shock. “Silence!” commanded the sage. After the third blow the boy fell to silent weeping.
“Send this boy to work in the gardens and tend the animals and build sheds!” But the mother did not know what these things were and only wept. Neither her nor her son would budge from their throne. The crowd returned and called the sage an enemy of children and exiled him.
“Better that you execute me,” said the sage, “because that would show genuine love. If love never overflows into anger it is not love.”
“Peace and not violence is care,” they said.
“You do not care. Do you not care what your children will become? Do you not care what your village will become?” But they would hear no more and he moved on.
He wandered from town to town, hungry almost to the point of starvation. He was very thin and ragged. In one big city he sat on a bench as the sun set. A guardian of the city told him that no homeless people could sit there after dark.
“Nature is my home,” said the sage.
“This isn’t nature. It’s the city. Do you have a job?”
“I’m a sage.”
“The sages meet over there.” He pointed to a tower four hundred stories high.
Inside there were ten billion books. On the first floor, hundreds of people were arguing loudly.
He grabbed the shoulder of a woman. “What are you arguing about?”
“Dr. Jones has argued that Dr. Smith’s views are intolerant. Dr. Smith is protesting that he is merely telling the truth and giving no interpretation. What do you believe is more important, truth or tolerance?”
“I believe that goodness is better than importance. The sages of old didn’t worry about being tolerant or right or important, only about being virtuous and good. You need to end this silly argument and leave this tower and live with virtue.”
“But we haven’t yet decided who is right,” she said.
“Will you ever decide?”
She laughed. “I don’t know.” She went back to arguing, and the sage went to the second floor of the tower.
There he found men and women sitting around a table drafting a very thick book.
“What is your book about?” he asked them.
A man spoke: “We are drafting a philosophy on the question of whether it should be legal for a dog to marry a cat, or a mouse a bluejay, or a hawk an elephant. Where should we draw the line?”
A woman said, “Or should there even be a line!”
And the people broke down into argument and he saw that they had only completed the first page of the book and most was crossed out.
“Fools!” yelled the sage. They all looked at him. “Your countrymen are starving, both for food and for wisdom. Your institutions are on the brink of collapse. All is affluent vice. Can you not write a book about this?”
“But books have already been written about those things.” And they pointed to all the millions of volumes on the shelves.
“If you had read them and understood them,” replied the sage, “you would not be here.”
They stared blankly. “We don’t have time, we’re behind on our book. The book-makers need this finished.”
Growling with rage he went on to the third floor. It was as crowded as the first, but even louder, because everyone was screaming angrily. The sage swung his staff and tripped someone and knelt on his chest.
“What do you want?” said the man, who looked more afraid now than angry.
The sage leaned down so his voice could be heard. “Why are you all so angry?”
“I’m angry because ... because ...”
“Promise not to hit me again.”
“I promise,” said the sage.
“I’m angry because people who believe in God are violent. They cause the suffering in this world. They need to be reasonable and tolerant.”
“You thought I would hit you because you thought I believe in God. But you are wrong. I do not believe in what you would call ‘God,’ though I do believe in the divine. And I do not believe that tolerance is more important than the divine.” And he wanted to strike the man for his stupidity but he had promised that he would not. “And what about everyone else? Why are they angry?”
“Some believe that disbelievers in God have caused all the problems, and that we need to start believing in the Bible again.”
“The Bible?” said the sage and he began swinging his staff this way and that, knocking people down until finally they were all looking at him. “I’ve been told,” he shouted, “that someone here has read the Bible!”
They all stared at this skinny long-bearded Moses and shook their heads. “No more than a few pages,” said one man. The rest remained silent.
“Idiots!” he said. “You are so lustful to prove the Bible true or false that you do not read it!” And he left the tower and wandered far from the city and its false sages.
On a distant mountaintop he found people living in tents and gazing at the sky. “We believe in your teachings, Sage!” they said. They gave him food and he accepted it because these people loved nature and grew wholesome food. “This world is a failure,” said these sky-gazers. “We wait for the extraterrestrials to land and take us to a better place!” The sage was filled with wonder and curiosity and asked them many questions about their space-faring friends. For three days and nights they spoke to him of outer space and its aliens. At the end of the third day he asked them, “Have these extraterrestrials taught you the meanings of wisdom?” And they began to describe the structure of reality. According to the aliens it is layered like the Tower of Sages in the city, and you start at the first level and as you learn more and more you move to the higher levels, to better and better planets.
“And what is the final level of enlightenment like?” he asked the sky gazers.
“We do not know. But perhaps you can ask our neighbors in that grove of trees. They are known as the silent and they have found perfect inner peace.”
He entered the grove and found people of every age and race sitting quietly in the perfect pose of the lotus.
“I hear you have wisdom!” said the sage.
One man opened one eye, and closed it.
“I hear you have wisdom!”
All remained perfectly still.
He struck the man with his staff. His eyes opened wide.
“I hear you have wisdom!”
“Perfect wisdom is perfect stillness,” said the man, cowering. “Please join us in our enlightenment or leave us alone!”
“Enlightened? Shall I call you the enlightened? No! I shall call you The Dumb, because you do not use God’s gift of speech that makes us humans and not animals!”
And the silent opened their eyes at this.
“Come, I am about to tell you what enlightenment is, and I will only say it once.” And the silent followed the sage out of the grove and onto the mountaintop with the sky gazers.
“Sky gazers! Look no more at the sublime empty heavens, but gaze down on your beautiful world!” And as he said this the sun rose and the gazers looked down into the valleys. “See the green living things? See the animals and humans in joy and sorrow, life and death, sickness and strength? See the prophets and philosophers, conquerors and saints, lovers and warriors, whores and nuns? Everything is beautiful, even what is ugly. Everything is horrible, even what is gorgeous. This is your world. Go unto it. Give up your tireless watching and tireless ideas. They will be endless. Why do you wish to go to another world? Will you not just sit on its mountaintop and watch the sky once more? You don’t even know what highest wisdom you seek!”
He turned to the silent. “Are you not on this world to be on this world? Be here and grow your gardens and trees, and animals and children. You have learned peace through silence. Be the peacemakers and teach all to live in peace and harmony. But I give you this riddle: War breeds Peace. You are the warriors of peace and you must fight your fight or lose what God you have found in your groves and on your mountaintops. Did I not descend from my mountaintop? If I had not descended, would I not have shirked my divine purpose? What use is learning if you cannot teach? End your silence!”
And as the sun rose, the sage beheld a nearby mountaintop, filled with more gazers, but these were the valley gazers and they were looking down on the world. The sage said to himself: “Perhaps those have found wisdom like mine and can satisfy my need for friendship.” So he climbed the other mountain.
On the other peak he found a mystery. All the valley gazers were old, and there were no children among them. “Where have your children gone?” he asked the valley gazers. “Have they abandoned you in your senile weakness?”
“No no,” they laughed. “We have never had any children.”
“No children!” said the sage, and he stood agape. “Do your bodies not have the God-given lust for procreation, evolved over countless aeons of life?”
“Well, some of us do and some of us don’t. But we forgo procreation only by choice. See the blood and death in the valleys below! Most children don’t make it in this hard world. There are too many people, and many people have more than their share of children. The only responsible thing to do is to bring no more life into this world of terror, where even the smallest and most innocent can meet a grotesque fate!”
The sage sat with the valley gazers for many days in deep thought. He knew they were wrong but he did not know how to explain himself. The days stretched to weeks, and the weeks to months as he lived with these valley gazers. How can you explain what is good in the death of children?
Finally, after two years of gazing with them he spoke. “The name Valley Gazer is too mild for you. I was mistaken because you seemed meek and natural. You shall now be called Despairers and Wailers! For all you do your whole lives is wail for the horror of the world. You stand and gaze at the masses multiplying and striving and starving, but you refuse to play your part in the epic of life. You produce no children and no convictions, because you are afraid of failure. You know that most children and convictions and faiths will die. But do we not all die? What can we make that can last for a thousand years, let alone five million years? What difference does it make if I die the day after birth or a hundred years after birth? One day has an equal part of eternity as a century. A single blade of grass has an equal share of infinity as a universe. In this way children are gods too and have the responsibilities of gods. Do you call this earth a great war? Then be a warrior. Only by accepting its horror can you find peace. Defying the horror you will ever remain a Despairer and Wailer. Go and have as many children as you can bear, and you will be blessed with many descendents and much life and love and death and beauty! God and evolution bid you go!” And a few of them listened and descended with the sage back into the valleys.
And many of the sky gazers and the silent and the valley gazers followed him down the mountain. He turned to them and said, “Let me leave you all with these words, lest you return to the mountains again. What good is your center and good intent if it evaporates in non-action? How shall future generations enlighten if the enlightened desire them not? No, I say desire future generations and suffering multitudes, and let them forge holy courage and virtue in suffering.”
And the sage went on by himself and walked among the error-checkers, who were checking the Histories and the Numbers line-by-line for errors. They had become old and gray but their pile of books grew ever higher because the book-makers were ever proliferate. The sage passed these machine-people silently and ran into a crowd of laughing onlookers, wearing glasses and dressed in the most fashionable clothes. They were laughing at the error-checkers and saying to one another, “We are more clever! By far!”
“How are you more clever?” asked the sage.
“What matters but doubt and evidence? Isn’t that the whole of reason? Why not use reason to fix the whole world, and not just our books?”
“But if you do not have time to fix all your books how can you hope to fix the world?” asked the sage. Their foolishness made him weary and gave him a heavy heart.
“On the contrary,” they said with confidence. And they stood tall and pointed to their automobiles and airplanes and computers and cellphones.
“You fix the world thus?” cried the sage. “Such things move people and ideas to and fro! They do not fix them!”
“Our Reason made the doctors too, and the doctors’ science.”
The sage laughed and said, “But can your doctors fix our broken spirits?”
“Our doctors of psychology can.” So the sage went to the offices of the psychologists.
Masses of well-dressed people, bedecked in jewels and fat on constant feasting were crowded at the doors of the psychologists, jostling to get in and offering bigger and bigger jewels for the privilege. With them they brought spoiled children that cried and cried. The sage climbed in through a window to see what was going on.
He came upon a circle of people seated in chairs, crying. Only one man in the circle was not crying, and he took notes on a clipboard. After listening to them wail for several hours the psychologist finally spoke. All stopped their tears to see and listen.
“Stop believing that there is anything wrong with you, and you will be cured,” he said. “Go to your job and earn your money and you will be okay.”
“What about my poor child!” said a woman. “She is too small to stop believing so easily!”
“Give her these drugs,” said the psychologist. “And she will be silent for the teachers who will teach her how to behave in a job some day.”
With great anger the sage jumped into the circle and grabbed the bottle of pills. “What is this you are giving your children!” he demanded.
“It will repair the chemical balance of their brains,” said the psychologist. “The mind is merely a machine, you know.”
“Merely? That cannot be! If it is a machine, what person designed it?”
“This drug helps you move from your bed to your school or job, where you can do your counting and reading, and then it lets you feel peaceful at night so you can sleep.”
“No! This is a monstrous practice, my friends. The purpose of your mind-machine is to be a soul. Your job is to strive to feed and teach children, and to raise animals and plants and give harmony to all of nature and to all people. You are making yourselves into machines so that you can build more machines and create wealth and luxuries to weaken our bodies and destroy our souls. You work your so-called jobs simply to get money and make more men, women, and children into machines!”
With a fiery heart he entered the child-prisons called schools and saw the practice of the toilers called teachers. All day they gave their students candy and praises for being quiet and sitting still. Some teachers yelled too, and all teachers taught this strange group meditation. And sometimes they forced the children to calculate and read so they could contribute in their jobs some day. A rare few teachers had souls and the fire of their souls entered their students, kindling life-sparks. As to bright flowers in the parched wasteland, these sparks were in each child’s mind, of stark beauty. But most toiler-teachers had no time to teach about becoming souls, only machines. The word “soul” had been banned from the schools long ago when it was seen that the nation needed worker-machines and not soul-people, and the teachers who taught it were ridiculed and made to carry heavy burdens. Yet it was these heavy-burdened toilers who were most cheerful.
In the evening the children went home and watched colorful pictures and rhythmic sounds to put their minds to sleep and prevent the flowering of their souls. They would go to sleep to their pictures and sounds and wake up the next morning and repeat. At school when they weren’t being told to be quiet they were talking loudly about the pictures and sounds. They also talked about who the most popular children were and how good their clothes were and how funny the jokes were they learned from the moving pictures. Sometimes the children would ask the teachers about the meaning of this mysterious word “soul” but the teachers were too exhausted to listen and had too many lessons to teach. So the children decided amongst themselves that having a soul was the same as being popular. And they showered the unpopular children with insults and robbed them of any hope of ever having a soul.
The sage followed a brother and sister home and scolded their parents at the door. “How could you sacrifice your children to that machine? There was a time when education meant growing your children’s souls and giving them values and manners, and having them read the ancient sages.”
“What’s a sage?” asked the father.
“Have you read the Bible? Have you read Plato?”
“No,” said the mother. “We thought those were outdated.”
“By what? Your empty schools and superficial textbooks? Your bankrupt psychology? Here, please read them.” He took a volume of Plato and his Bible and handed them to the parents.
“Oh,” they laughed weakly. “We don’t have time to read those. We didn’t know you were one of those missionaries.” The slammed the door in his face. And the sage sat on their steps and wept for these poor children long into the night. In the morning the parents called social services and he was taken to the soup kitchen.
He saw very proud men and women serving food to the poor. He was hungry because he was far from his farm and had found little that was suitable to eat. This food was no different. It all came from cans and on the cans were labels of explanation. It was made by huge machines that destroyed the soil and destroyed all plants and animals except a single crop for acres and acres. Reading this explanation on the label he threw his food on the ground and turned to the poor and hungry who were eating and cried, “Cast away this food! It is better that we all starve than to live on the mechanization of life, the making-machine of all that is green or nimble! For every mouth we feed here we destroy a million generations of flourishing and suffering and soul-building and soul-breeding. These are the elements of life and its meaning, not merely stuffing our faces like swine.”
“But if these people do not eat,” said a server, “they will die. They are starving and gaunt, can’t you see? You say let them die rather than feed them bad food. We say that would be a meaningless death, to die simply because one is poor.”
The sage knew this was his most difficult doctrine, the rarest and most tooth-breaking of pearls, and he grew silent. None waited for his response. All went on eating. It was likely that they would trample this pearl underfoot, and turn and gore him.
Nevertheless, he stood upon a table and gave them this parable:
“Once there was a powerful and lustful sultan with forty-thousand wives. Many supplicants came and groveled and cried: ‘Oh Great One, in your wisdom you have married every woman in the city. We honor your greatness, but humbly beg of you to have pity, for your subjects are starved for affection and lonely, and cannot live good lives without the company of women.’ And the sultan replied, ‘I am not deaf to your suffering. Every man in the city may come to the palace once a week and sleep with the Royal Wife of his choosing.’ And the men of the city rejoiced and this became the new custom.
“Ye wretches! Do you not see that the men of the city are as guilty as the sultan? Do you not see that his wives are sorely abused? When you plow a piece of land and destroy its abundance, you are as the sultan ravaging a new wife. The hungry are like the men of the city who cannot find a wife. When beggars complain of their hunger, they should be sent to cultivate their land, but Behold! there is no good land left, for the sultans of the world rape it with their machines. Indeed, when you cultivate a piece of land you marry it and you should love it and treat it as an equal. The land and its abundance is part of nature, and it is a commandment to worship nature, for it is the face of God.
“Do you not see that by eating this food you are as guilty as the man who sleeps with a wife of the sultan? It matters not that you have permission from the sultan! Do you have permission from the wife? Does nature give you permission to abuse her so?” And he overturned the tables one by one and spilled the soup. They called the guardians and he fled into the alleyways of the city and was very hungry. He had not eaten for several weeks. There was no fat on his body and he knew he was close to death.
He leaned against the hard brick wall and wondered: Was he mad? But the psychologists had defined madness as being non-machine. So it was good to be mad in this country. Was there no country where he could belong? Could he live with the peasants in faraway Bolivia? But he was not Bolivian and did not belong there. He belonged here and was raised here. Should he go to his mountain again? But he had no wife and no legacy to leave, even from the mountain. He would go to die. Should he find a wife? But brides needed men with machine-jobs. That was the first requirement in this land. And he was not a machine and he loved his soul. So he would starve here, alone and sane. And for amusement he took a pile of napkins and a stray pencil and wrote down his thoughts and threw them to the wind. His thoughts were angry but his heart was calm. He cried into the empty alley, “Only that which is given freely and without expectation of return has any life.” He thought he would die there with no reward for the pearls he had cast. He was content.
Some Christians found him and took him to their beautiful farm and fed him wholesome food. They understood some things about animals and plants. They remembered how to work with their hands and educate their own children.
“You are building something that might last here!” said the sage with admiration.
The Christians were proud and thanked him for the compliment, but told him that all was not well. “Our children learn many things and become much wiser than other children, because they don’t go to the machine-schools. And though they have great success and go on to be great men and women, most lose God and become atheists and abandon farming and child-rearing. But what else can we do? You believe in God and the Bible: maybe you can help us. Our children make great progress in the Word of God but maybe we can teach them a better way. Come and see the little ones.”
He went with them to see their smallest children. The three-year-olds prayed seventy times a day and memorized an entire book of the Bible every week. A two-year-old approached him and said, “See our beautiful gardens that God made. I love God so much! And I love the Bible. Jesus will save me. I have him in my heart!”
The sage turned to the parents and said, “Your little ones do not know what they are saying. You’ve made God part of their grammar. It is nothing more than a word and piece of information to them. What is the infinite to someone who cannot count to three? What is the forgiveness of Jesus to someone who cannot sin? What is the beauty of the world to someone whose world is a nursery? One teaches like this: animals, gardens, tools, words, songs, music, stories, poetry, mathematics, science, philosophy, religion, Jesus, God. You are teaching your children backwards! No wonder you people are called backwards even by the idiotic city folk. Your children will never be able to doubt God this way, and without doubt how can they have faith? And if there is no genuine faith, how can they go on to teach future generations the meaning of God?”
The parents stared at him blankly. They too had been raised in blind faith and were subject to the pan-generational curse of the trivialization and idolization of God. Those who fell by the wayside were cursing God because they didn’t know whom they cursed.
But the Christians did not expel the sage, and they asked him for more wisdom. He told them:
“You must begin by demanding of yourself that you forget all and renounce all -- even unto atheism -- learn all and remember all, suffer all and challenge all, die in every way you can die and strive in every way you can strive: all for the sake of the most sacred of the sacred, the most divine of that divinity that is beyond explanation and full comprehension. Such divinity will make you the quietest and most radical, the broadest-minded and most judgmental, most guilty and most angry. And only when your soul has been thus broken can it live and grow into a soul.
“Break your soul and break the souls of your children and give them everything of yourself and of the ancients. If a passion for the wisdom of the ancients is also kindled in their hearts your children and your children’s children will became holy sage-kings.”
And the Christians heard this and marveled and a woman among them fell in love with the sage and they married and moved to his mountain home. There was a great feast and celebration and they founded a village on their mountain. Over the centuries it produced many great sages before it fell into forgetfulness and famine. For a time it lived on only in song and poetry, yet long after all had forgotten what money was and schools, what psychologists were and Christians, and what the one hundred schools of wisdom were the village had produced, the sagacity of the village passed into the spirit of humanity and made it richer and strengthened the spirit of nature in the world, if only by a blade of grass.