The Priestess and the Fool
There was a day, long years ago, when a Fool appealed for help. This is not unusual in itself, as fools are always seeking supplication and sympathy. A fool loves nothing more than being the center of attention, and feeling like galactic events are occurring on his account. In short, he likes to feel whatever noise made in public is about HIM.
But, this day was unusual, because fools were in short demand, wisdom was rare, and Humanity was beginning to be a little irritated at the inconstant balance, and felt particularly inconvenienced. Thus, Humanity appealed to a single entity, and woe! to the muse who did not wear the right fragrance.
So, what began as an unremarkable day made tree-notch history for its particular fecundity and stupidity. Look for an ancient elm in Ireland with the queer mark known as "huh?" and you'll see what I mean. As if everyone doesn't understand Hagalaz, Uruz, Hagalaz, - the Norse runes which clearly means "lack of understanding" - also known as "I-don't get-it" in English.
So, the Priestess, when enchanted out of her tree, who endeavored to help the Fool, was face-to-face with her supplicant, was astonished to find he had no clue where he was or who he was talking to.
"Fool," she said. "How can I help you?" the Priestess said.
"I do not know," said the Fool. "I am merely a gibbering idiot."
"I have known many gibbering idiots. Do you know that you are an idiot, or are you merely assuming a title given to you?" asked the Priestess.
The Fool had a rather obstinate look; he had a rather obstinate expression. But he would not answer the question - even though it was a fair question.
He was clearly a stubborn Fool. Thus, the Priestess asked, "What exactly did you want to know?
"I want to know the Wisdom of Humanity, " said the Fool.
"Good. So does everybody else," said the Priestess. "But what have you to offer? Why are you special?"
"Other than my dark hair and pale skin, I do not know."
After a pause, the Priestess said, "That's not good enough."
The Priestess regarded him, and realized he would be one that would come back. She decided to zero in on him, and to follow him through incarnations. This one was corrupt, and would bear watching.
"Why, exactly," she asked, "is dark hair and fair complexion worthy of notice?"
The Fool replied, "I know not, my Lady. This is a prescribed formula. I do not seek to question why - I simply depend upon my livelihood as an honorable Fool. If I must be a Fool, I wish to be the best."
The Priestess chewed upon this, and responded, "Thus, you are a designated Fool. That is indeed a hard task and a heavy burden. Alas, it has not escaped my notice that you are quite well-spoken - for a Fool. I begin to suspect that you are actually a rather smart person, smart enough to disguise yourself as a Fool, and smart enough to think that a Fool's path is the easiest." The Priestess sighed, with a smile, and said, "This makes you the biggest Fool of all."
The Fool was outraged.
"Madame!" he said, between clenched teeth, "I have given my All to be a Fool, and have been told it was a worthy position with some recompense. I demand to be given my equal due, now!"
"My dear Fool," the Priestess replied, "Had you truly been honorable, and worthy of your title, no claim of justice would have been necessary. This world, for whatever reason, seems to honor its honest fools. But you are not honest, and therefore will not be given credit for work you have not done."
"I am a Fool, I tell you!" he said. "I demand that you pay me what I am worth!"
"I will pay you what you are worth, my friend who calls himself a Fool, who knows the least about what it means to really be a Fool," the Priestess said. "I have put some thought into this, I have looked into your eyes, and I begin to understand your claim, based upon promises made to you, and bargains you believed."
"I give you, Fool, as you call yourself, a powerful totem," the Priestess said. "What I give to you is a magnet, so powerful it will attract any bimbo within miles to your Presence. What this magnet will do is to serve as a cosmic gift to make sure that you only attract that which is worthy of you."
The Fool was so delighted with his gift, and so proud of what he thought of as his deception at "wheedling" the Priestess into giving him more than he truly deserved, that he never considered that perhaps the Priestess might have given him exactly what he deserved, and he still lives with the consequences to this day.
Thus, the Fool who worked so hard should be given credit for having accomplished the height of his ambition.