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Library: Aydjen's Bard Story


Author: Shardik
Date:Feb 8 2002

Life's other half.

Back in the days when I used to sail the seven seas in search for glory and
wealth I once had an encounter of the most remarkable sort. We were crossing a
strait in a fisherman's boat; the fisherman, his four man crew, an old man
with a pointy hat and me. The small ship had been on the water for two days
yet  because of the harsh weather and a lot of fog, and it was already getting

That evening the old man and me sat together in the cabin for lunch. Fishing
nets and harpoons all over the place. After forcing down the food, some sort
fishcake I supposed, we had a little gossip about this'n'that and a few beers
and two or three bottles of too sweet wine later he told me that he had been
a very famous scholar, a wise man even more. I asked him what would bring him
out here, so he told me about all the places he had seen, all the wisdom and
knowledge he possessed and all the wonders ahead waiting to be discovered and
studied, all the wisdom to be gained. Raising an eyebrow I began to play my
accordion as the fisherman entered the dim room through the front door and sat
down at our table.

"Now tell me, Fisherman", the great philosopher wanted him to join our little
conversation, "have you read `Thoughts of master Gorat«, too?" And as the
fisherman had to admit that he'd never learned to read, the great philosopher
exclaimed pitying: "You fool! Half of your life was lived useless if you know
nothing about the wisdom of books and words!"

The saddened fisherman did not say a word but I could see he was struggling
with himself and his obviously useless life because he surely missed so much
he never would be able to regain.

But yet before the next noon dark clouds gathered at the horizon and raged in
our ship's direction like an unleashed gang of attacking wild boars. The sea
was rumbling, and the waves got higher and higher until they finally broke
above the boat. Helplessly the fisherman and the crew had to watch the mast
splittening in two and the sail tattering away in the storm. The boat rocked
and rolled in the wind. I saw the wise man running for a rope he then wrapped
his fragile hands around, screaming: "What can I do, fisherman?"

I could hear the fisheman shouting back: "Swim for your life!" The philosopher
answered in panic: "I never had the time to learn swimming with all the
studies I have done." The last that could be heard in the raging storm was the
sorrowful fisherman shouting over to the wise man: "That is really sad,
master. Now the other half of your life will remain unlived." as the ship
turned upside down and sank. With it the master philosopher. What a loss for
mankind said many who attended to the funeral as they heard of the accident.

But the fisherman, his crew and luckily me could swim back ashore and rescue
ourselves. I met him again years later. He had got a new ship and was sailing
the seas again. Mostly for fishing, sometimes as travelling service for
strangers but every now and then all alone for himself into a quiet bay. In
order to read, he told me, because meanwhile he had learned it.