Le loup de mer et le loup de terre

Un jour, le loup de mer reҫu la visite du loup de terre. Les deux se connaissaient déjà depuis l’école des loups. Le loup de mer avait parcouru le monde et vécut beaucoup d’aventures et il rentra chez lui riche de trésors et d’expériences. Le loup de terre était resté chez soi dans sa tannière. Il rencontra une louve de terre et eut des louveteaux de terre. Et maintenant, il a beaucoup de petits-louveteaux et des arrière-petits-louveteaux, et tous sont devenus de vrais, bons loups de terre.

«Parfois j’aimerais refaire ma vie», dit le loup de terre au loup de mer. «C’est la même chose pour moi», dit ce dernier. «Je ferais beaucoup de choses différemment», dit le loup de terre. «Oui, moi aussi», répondit le loup de mer. «Je naviguerais les océans», rêva le loup de terre. «Je me marierais», soupira le loup de mer. «Je vivrais des aventures», expliqua le loup de terre. «J’aurais des louveteaux», dit le loup de mer. «Je serais un loup de mer riche. J’aurais vécu des expériences  périlleuses et magnifiques, dont je pourrais raconter les histoires», dit le loup de terre avec enthousiasme. «Moi, j’aurais des petits-enfants et des arrière-petits-enfants qui m’aimeraient et qui s’occuperaient de moi quand je serais vieux et malade», assura le loup de mer.

«Et ce serait moi qui serait maintenant assis avec toi dans cette tannière de loup de mer», continua le loup de terre, « …et moi avec toi… », rajouta le loup de mer. Le loup de terre hocha la tête : «Et puis maintenant tu me dirais : “Parfois, j’aimerais bien refaire ma vie” et moi, je répondrais : “Oui, c’est la même chose pour moi.”»

Everything Else

In a land in our time there lived a man, who read a book and found lots of wonderful stories therein. There were true and invented stories, experienced and pensive, enjoyable and painful stories. There were stories which contained stories, and such which were actually not stories. For every story he read, there occurred to him nearly five which he had either experienced or thought up himself. So the thought came to him, that a lot in the world was a story which could be healing for himself and others; he only needed to absorb the healing stories well and to forget the terrible ones immediately. Then he would learn which story he had used when and for what. So he organised his own stories which he knew, and which had become a help to himself and others, or could become so. Sometimes he noted it down when a new story came to his ears and sometimes when a helpful story occurred to him, he memorised it.

Then he saw before him in a picture the storystories of this life arranged in long shelves, as in a large pharmacy. And behind the counter there sat a man who had learnt to listen to himself and others. He was a master of his subjectspecialty. His talent was that he understood how to tell the right thing at the right time to himself and to those who visited him.

The Gift of Life

I had a dream. I saw a farmer walking over his field, scattering seeds on the ground, a great many. And I saw the same man some time later. He went to the same field, and he had a scythe with him, and the field was white and stood full of the finest wheat. And he said: “Not all the seeds have borne fruit, but the harvest is rich.” And he praised the gift of life.

Then I went home. It was in the evening, and it was getting dark. The windows were lit up and I could look behind them. In the first house I saw a teacher with her school class. She sowed knowledge and understanding. And I saw the same woman some years later, as she talked to the same pupils who had since grown up. And she said: “Not all the seeds have borne fruit, but the harvest is rich.” And she praised the gift of life.

In a second window I saw a mother who taught her son to walk. She took him by his hands, praised him on every step, and encouraged him to take another. And I saw the same mother twenty years later at the wedding ceremony of her boy, who was not a boy any more. And she said: “Not all the seeds have borne fruit, but the harvest is rich.” And she praised the gift of life.

In the third window I saw a jobless man, who helped his mother care for his father, and he went shopping for his sick neighbour, and he went to his sister’s house in the evening to look after the children while she was at a parent-teacher conference. And I saw the same man a few years later. Surprisingly he had found some work, and tomorrow was his first working day. He looked back at the past years. And he said: “Not all the seeds have borne fruit, but the harvest is rich.” And he praised the gift of life.

In the fourth window I saw someone who sowed smiles. He sowed friendly inquiries: “Is your wife better?” He sowed birthday greetings and invitations to delicious suppers.

In the fifth window I saw someone who sowed listening-to-children and telling-them-stories and wetting-them-with-the-lawn-sprinkler-in-summer and rustling-with-them-through-the-fallen-leaves-in-autumn. He sowed throwing-snowballs-in-winter and hunting-easter-eggs-in-spring.

Last of all I looked into a window, and I believe this must have been heaven. Again I saw the sower, and with him were all these people whom I had seen in my dream. And on the field the fruit had grown. There grew the happiness of a child in the middle of a pillow fight. There grew the consolation for a widow, who had good friends. The field bore the relief of a pupil who, for the first time, had a C instead of an F in maths. There grew the patience of adults and the helpfulness of children. And I heard someone say: “Not all the seeds have borne fruit, but the harvest is rich.” And he praised the gift of life.