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SCENE 11 - A Parable

"A young man journeys down an endless road in the company of many others. The road leads across rocky plains where nothing grows and the sun's fire burns from morning to evening. Nowhere is there shade or coolness to be found. And huge dust clouds are stirred all around by a harrowing wind. The youth is driven forward by an incomprehensible frenzy and tormented by a scorching thirst. Sometimes he asks himself or one of his companions about the goal of their journey. But the answer is uncertain and tentative. He himself has forgotten why he ever set out on his journey. He's also forgotten his native land and the journey's final destination.

"Suddenly one evening, he finds himself standing in a deep blue forest. Dusk sets in and all is quiet. Only the evening wind sighs through the tall trees. He stands amazed but also anxious and suspicious. He's all alone, and he realises his hearing is weak – his ears having been inflamed from the merciless light of day. His mouth and throat are parched from the long pilgrimage. His lips are cracked, pressed together around curses and harsh words. So he doesn't hear the ripple of flowing water and doesn't notice its reflection in the dusk. He stands deaf and blind at the edge of the spring, unaware of its existence. Like a sleepwalker he wanders unaware between the sparkling pools. His blind skill is remarkable and soon he's back on the road again in the burning, shadowless light.

"One night, by the campfire, he's seated by an old man who is telling some children about the forest and the springs. The youth recalls what he's been through, but faintly and indistinctly as from a dream.

"He turns to the old man and asks, 'Where does all the water come from?'

"'It comes from a mountain whose peak is covered by a mighty cloud.'

"'What kind of cloud?' the youth asks.

"The old man answers, 'Every individual carries inside hopes and longings. Everyone shouts out their despair or bears it in mind. Some pray to a particular God. Others address their cries to the void. This despair, this hope, this dream of deliverance, all these cries, all these tears are gathered over thousands and thousands of years and condense into an unmeasurable cloud around a high mountain. Out of the cloud, rain flows down the mountain forming the streams and rivers that flow through the great forests. That's how the springs are formed where you can quench your thirst, wash your badly burnt face, cool your blistered feet. Everyone has at sometime heard of the mountain, the cloud, and the springs, yet most people anxiously remain on the dusty road in the blazing light.

"'Why do they stay there?' asks the youth in great astonishment.

"'I certainly don't know,' replies the old man. 'Perhaps they've convinced themselves and each other that they'll reach their unknown destination someday, if not the next.'

"'What unknown destination?' the young man begs.

"The old man shrugs his shoulders. 'In all probability, the destination doesn't exist. It is an illusion, made by deception or imagination. I myself am on my way to the forests and springs. Once I was there when I was young, and now I'm trying to find my way back.'

"The next morning, the youth sets out with the old man to seek the mountain, the cloud, the forests and the rippling springs."

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