Sunday, 5 May 2013

The Idiot and the Enlightened Master

I fell and bashed my ribs the other day when I lost my balance. I was trying to rescue one of my neighbour's cats.

Next thing, a friend said to me: Gwilym, you're a perfect mixture of Buster Keaton and Mr. Bean!

Well, it may be that I am an unintentional clown at times. "Many a true word . . . " etc.

In the old courts every wise king kept a fool. The fool was was there for balance.

On my shelf a copy of Dostoyevsky's masterpiece 'The Idiot' has been gathering dust for too many years.

I was thinking it's about time I got round to reading it. Now I'm certain.

That brings me to my second book. And to the point.

I found the book in a banana box more than ten years ago. I have read it many times. I find it most inspirational. I like books you can open at any page and be certain to find words of wisdom or insight.

Today, for example, I turned up the following:

   It happened once: A great King had a wise man but not a fool. And things were going wrong, so a search was made and a man was found who was a perfect fool. Perfection is rare: to find a perfect wise man is rare, to find a perfect fool is still more rare. But perfection is beautiful wherever it is. Even a perfect fool has a quality in him that you cannot challenge - perfection. Perfection has its own beauty, it gives a grace. If you want to read what a perfect fool is, read Dostoyevsky's novel The Idiot.
   A perfect fool was found. The King wanted to test him to see whether he was really worthwhile. So he said to the fool, "Make a list of ten great fools in my court" - there were one hundred members of the court - "Make a list of ten persons, and put the names in order: the greatest fool first, and then the second and then the third . . . ." And seven days time was given.
   The seventh day the King asked, "Have you made the list?"
   The fool said, "Yes."
   The King was curious. He said, "Who is the first?"
   The fool said, "You!"
   The King was annoyed and he said, "Why? You will have to give me an explanation."
   The fool said, "Just yesterday, up to yesterday, I had not filled the first place. To one of your ministers you have given millions of rupees, and you have sent him to a faraway country to purchase big diamonds, pearls, and other precious stones. I tell you that man is never going to come back. You trusted him - you are a fool. Only a fool trusts."
   The King said, "Okay. And if he comes, then?"
   The fool said, "Then I will cross your name off and put his name instead."


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