I was strolling in the gardens of an insane asylum when I met a young man who was reading a philosophy book. His behavior and his evident good health made him stand out from the other inmates.
I sat down beside him and asked: ‘What are you doing here?’
He looked at me, surprised. But seeing that I was not one of the doctors, he replied:
‘It’s very simple. My father, a brilliant lawyer, wanted me to be like him. My uncle, who owns a large emporium, hoped I would follow his example. My mother wanted me to be the image of her beloved father. My sister always set her husband before me as an example of the successful man. My brother tried to train me up to be a fine athlete like himself.
And the same thing happened at school, with the piano teacher and the English teacher – they were all convinced and determined that they were the best possible example to follow. None of them looked at me as one should look at a man, but as if they were looking in a mirror.
So I decided to enter this asylum. At least here I can be myself.’
* * *
The Best Wine Saved . . . and Saved
There once was a wealthy man who always gave a dinner once a month for his friends. Is so happened that on one occasion a few of his closest friends were sick and unable to attend. The man wanted to save a part of the celebration for his absent friends, so he took a bottle of his best wine from the table and put it in a special box. That way he would have it when his friends arrived. He then went to his servant and told him, “Please make sure you respect what’s in that box because what is there has a special purpose for our guests.”
The servant was perplexed but respected the wishes of his master by bowing every time he passed it. Well, not long after, the master died, but the monthly meals continued. The servant would tell the guests of the master’s wishes; that they, like he, were to respect the special box. So the meals began to grow more and more serious. Instead of celebrating being together as friends, they began to eat in silence and to gaze in respect at the box.