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The Four Elements

2006-07-13 23:44

  “I want to become a gardener,” said Phil, when he was 14 years old, for he was looking for a trade to learn. “It is so wonderful to live always amongst the green and the beautiful smelling flowers.” But after a short time he returned home, moaning about his work which forced him to remain bent over the ground and to keep shoveling dirt here and there. His back and his knees hurt him and he gave up planting flowers.

  So he decided to become a hunter. “In the green and shady woods, life must be wonderful,” he said. But soon he was back with the excuse that he could not support the fog and the early morning air.

  Then he had the idea to become a fisherman. “To sail on the clear waters of the river in a nice boat and to pull in net after net of fish must be truly a wonderful trade,” he said. But even this joy came to an end. “How can one ever remain dry,” he moaned, “and water for me is the worst thing ever.”

  At last he decided to become a cook. “To the cook,” he said, “gardeners, hunters, and fishermen consign all the fruit of their work and he is never without a good meal.”

  But one again he returned home with a thousand excuses.

  “It would be all wonderful,” he said, “if there wasn't that blessed fire. When I am in front of the fire, I seem to melt with the heat.”

  Phil's father did not let him choose a fifth trade and told him severely: “If you want to be happy, you must learn to support the difficulties of life courageously. If you want to avoid all the unpleasant things that the air, the earth, water and fire often cause us, you would have to leave this world. If you think always of the good that you receive in your present condition, you will see that a little at a time the difficulties will seem insignificant.”

  Phil took those words to heart and when he heard someone else moaning he would give them the same advice his father had given him.

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