You know: in a foolish, undiscriminating way, I've been happy these last few months. I don't know why. I just am. I love my friends; I love my pupils; I love what I read; I -- dammit -- love my thoughts. I love the taste of oranges.
Thornton Wilder in a letter to Gertrude Stein, Aug 14, 1936

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Walking up to the sinsipa tree, the king climbed it, cut the rope by which the corpse was hanging and let the body fall to the ground. What was this corpse like?

     Dark blue as a rain cloud,
     the hair on its hair standing erect,
     goggle-eyed, no trace of flesh on its frame,
     marked with the signs of a ghost,
     it was a horrid sight.

No sooner had the king climbed down than the corpse was up again hanging from a branch. Again the king climbed the tree, placed the corpse on his shoulders and set out on his journey back. The corpse was possessed by a genie and as the king walked along, the genie spoke, 'Listen, O king!' it began

     'Time passes for the intelligent
     in the enjoyment of poetry and martial sports;
     but for the foolish and ignorant,
     in sleep, mischief or vicious pursuits.
     What good is good fortune without discipline?
          What good is night without the moon?
     Without true wisdom, what good is skill without words'

"So, listen, O king, while I regale you with a tale,' said the genie.

from The Five-and-Twenty  Tales of the Genie,  by Sivadasa
Translated and with an introduction by Chandra Rajan
Penguin Edition

1 comment:

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