The Bird in the Hand

High in the Himalayan mountains lived a wise old man…

Periodically, he ventured down into the local village to entertain the villagers with his special knowledge and talents. One of his skills was to psychically tell the villagers the contents in their pockets, boxes, or minds.

A few young boys from the village decided to play a joke on the wise old man and discredit his special abilities.

One boy came up with the idea to capture a bird and hide it in his hands. He knew of course, the wise old man would know the object in his hands was a bird.

The boy devised a plan.

Knowing the wise old man would correctly state the object in his hands was a bird, the boy would ask the old man if the bird was dead or alive. If the wise man said the bird was alive, the boy would crush the bird in his hands, so that when he opened his hands the bird would be dead.

But, If the wise man said the bird was dead, the boy would open his hands and let the bird fly free. So no matter what the old man said, the boy would prove the old man a fraud.

The following week, the wise old man came down from the mountain into the village. The boy quickly caught a bird and cupping it out of sight in his hands, walked up to the wise old man and asked, “Old man, old man, what is it that I have in my hands?”

The wise old man said, “You have a bird, my son.” And he was right.

The boy then asked, “Old man, old man, tell me: Is the bird alive or is it dead?”

The wise old man looked at the boy, thought for a moment and said, “The bird is as you choose it to be. It’s destiny is in your hands.”

Between the boy or wise old man as two subjects in the dialogue of the Bird in the Hand, there is an obvious perspective that defines a character. The key is choice. We have the choice to choose the destiny in our hands.

If you define the character of the boy, the behavior between right and wrong seems to shift according his adolescent behavior. The young boy doesn’t see the road ahead, only the fleeting seconds in the present and is thus also attributed with immorality. He doesn’t realize his actions could cross the boundaries of right and wrong. He is only about an experiment that could reach to a desired result. However, the choice of a boy plays with fate with ignorance of morality could result to catastrophe.

If you define the character of the wise old man, just to be wise he had undergoed the long road of life, learned knowledge and wisdom while passing it with others. The wise was once a boy though from youth to old age through the lessons of life, he knows the differences between right and wrong.

Who am I in this picture if I can describe? Even though this is a lesson of an obvious morality issue of choice, could the boys ignorance be a symbol of ignorance of many in general? I would much rather be the wise old man, however I have to admit that I am young too. I probably make many mistakes and some great ones. However, I have to venture to road life to understand these and become wise.

As we stand in different positions of life, we need to know that choice is crucial. It leads to various paths well understood by the wise. However the young like playing with matches, doesn’t understand the outcomes of some decisions, while some could go far.

How do we understand ourselves while life has many roads? We need to walk these roads to understand them. Perhaps, one day we can be wise just like the wise old man.

Photo by Ludovic François on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s