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.
A fifty-five year old man glanced out of the window and saw his neighbour, who was the same age as him, going for a walk. “He has it goodis lucky”, he sighed. “He can enjoy his retirement already, and I still have to work.” “Don’t you know that he’s nearly blind?” I informed him. “That’s why he is no longer worksworking.” “I didn’t know that”, said the former, and pondered.
“This reminds me of what my nephew told me. He said: “When’When I park in front of the school with my big car, then many of his fellow pupils say: ‘You have it goodare lucky – with those fancy wheels.’ Sometimes I would like to answer one of them: ‘At least you still have a father.’ But mostly I keep quiet.”.’”
“That reminds me of an old friend”, I replied. “I phoned him recently. ’I’ll be in your area tomorrow. Could we perhaps meet up again?’ We agreed on a time. I looked forward to seeing him again. ’Is your girlfriend coming, too?’ I asked. She is a delightful young woman. The two of them are a wonderful couple altogether. My partnerships were never as balanced and harmonious. To be honest: It hurt me a little to thinkcompare my own situation with theirs; I live alone. ’I’ll ask her if she’ll come along‘, said the friend. – ’This is a singles’ meeting‘, were his first words when we saw each other again. ’My girlfriend and I split up earlier today.’”
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