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Classic Literature and Poetry


kejedo

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Before "coming into" the truth, I had read a number of literary pieces that referred to Bible accounts. I had tried to read and understand the Bible, itself, on my own but didn't get it.

In a sonnett written circa 1673, "On His Blindness," Milton seems to use the word 'talent' to refer to his own skills that were not being used to the utmost due to his loss of eyesight.I was surprised when I started to understand the reliable message of the Bible, that 'talent' had an entirely different meaning (and parable.)

Around 1815 GG Byron penned a poem, "The Destruction of Sennacherib." Our current weekly readings always remind me of this literary piece. It evokes strong imagery that stayed with me through the years. Although these were not necessarily correct, Biblically, they were impressive to my young mind. Are there any pieces of literature that have stayed with you,( even though they may have been written before accurate knowledge was abundant)?   

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"The Three Questions"

by Leo Tolstoy

 

The thought came to a certain king that he would never fail

if he knew the answers to three things.

 

These three things were:

 

What was the right time for every action?

Who were the most necessary people?

What was the most important thing to do?

 

Many educated men attempted to answer the king's questions,

but they all came up with different answers.

 

The king decided that he needed to ask a wise hermit in a nearby village.

 

The hermit would only see common folk, however,

so the king disguised himself as a peasant,

left his guards behind, and went to see the hermit.

 

The hermit was digging flower beds when the king arrived.

 

The king asked his questions, but the hermit went on digging rather laboriously.

 

The king offered to dig for him for a while.

 

After digging for some time, the king again asked his questions.

 

Before the hermit could answer, a man emerged from the woods.

He was bleeding from a terrible stomach wound.

 

The king tended to him, and they stayed the night in the hermit's hut.

 

By the next day the wounded man was doing better,

but was incredulous at the help he had received.

The man confessed that he knew who the king was,

and that the king had executed his brother and seized his property.

He had come to kill the king, but the king's guards had wounded him.

 

The man pledged allegiance to the king, and then went on his way.

 

The king asked the hermit again for his answers,

and the hermit responded that he had just had his questions answered.

 

The most important time is now. Because the present is the only time

in which we have any power to act.

The most important person is whoever you are with at the moment.

The most important thing is to do that person good.

For this is the sole purpose of man.

 

That's just a brief summary.  

 

This short story has stuck with me for the past half a century.

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