There was once a man (reputed to be the wisest in the world) who, although living to an untold age, confined his teaching to the one command: ‘Endure’!

At length a rival arose who challenged him to a debate which took place before a large assembly, ‘You say endure. I wish to love and to be loved, to conquer and create. I wish to know what is right, then do it and be happy’. There was no reply from his opponent, and, on looking more closely at the old creature, his adversary found him to consist of an odd-shaped rock on which had taken root a battered thorn that represented, by an optical illusion, the impression of hair and a beard. Triumphantly he pointed out the mistake to the authorities but they were not intimidated. ‘Man or rock’, they answered, ‘does it really matter’? And at that moment the wind, reverberating through the sage’s moss-grown orifice, repeated with a hollow sound: ‘Endure’!

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