Common sense always pays

Long ago, four young men, all good friends, left their village and journeyed to a far-off city in search of learning.

When they arrived in the city, they went to a famous teacher who was very learned, wise, and kind. Three of the four youths proved hardworking and readily absorbed everything taught them. But the fourth youth was inclined to be lazy in his studies and did not learn much.

At the end of five years, when they had completed their studies, the teacher called each of them to his office. To the three hardworking youths, he gave each one an extraordinary power. The teacher explained to him when the fourth youth came to his office. Because of his idleness, he had learned very little but, luckily, appeared to have much common sense. The teacher said this would be helpful in the future, so much so that there was no need to grant the youth any extraordinary power but only to ask for God’s blessings to be upon him.

The four youths then thanked their teacher and, with his blessings, set out for their native village. On their journey, they had to pass through a dense forest, where they found the scattered bones of a lion.

With his extraordinary power, one of the youths gathered the bones together and quickly formed them into the skeleton of the lion.

The second youth used his extraordinary power to cover the skeleton with flesh and the golden fur skin of a fully developed lion.

The third youth said he would use his extraordinary power to bring the lion to life. But the fourth earnestly beseeched his friend not to get the lion to life, as the animal might prove dangerous.

The three youths promptly laughed at theirs. An idle friend told him he was jealous of their extraordinary powers, but he need have no fear, as the lion would be grateful to them for bringing him back to life.

The fourth youth was not convinced by such arguments and hurried to the nearest tall tree, which he climbed to the topmost branches, and from that safe distance, watched his friends and their absurd experiment.

The third youth, with closed eyes, recited long verses over the lion’s body, and soon afterwards, there was movement in the lion. First, the ears twitched, then the tail; it yawned and arched its back. Finally, it stood up and then gave such a roar that all the trees in the forest trembled.

The three youths were terrified and ran for their lives. But alas, the lion was hungry and quickly pounced on the three youths, whom it devoured in record time, and then slunk away into the forest for a place to rest.

Our fourth youth slowly climbed down from the tree and sadly continued his journey home, thanking his lucky stars for being alive and reflecting that sometimes a little common- sense was worth more than a lot of book learning.

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