During the Middle Ages there was a king in central Europe who wanted to educate the people of his realm. He heard of a renowned scholar and hoped this man would share his wisdom with the king’s subjects. So he sent forth emissaries to find the scholar and invite him to be the tutor for the kingdom.
The scholar came and met with the king who told him of his plan. He accepted the king’s invitation to teach his people all that he knew. The king was delighted that he was fulfilling the mission he had set for himself.
A number of years passed. One day the scholar sought an audience with the king and the king granted his request. At the audience the scholar said, “Your majesty. I have been with you and your people for quite a few years. I have taught you all that I know. It is now time for me to leave and share my knowledge with other people.”
The king was sad to see the scholar depart but he understood that the scholar was doing what he believed to be the right thing.
He said to the scholar, “While we are sorry to lose you we respect your decision. But before you depart, we must have a feast in your honor – for all that you have done for me and for my people.”
The scholar agreed to remain until the feast.
The king ordered that a large wooden structure be erected – sufficient in size to accommodate both the nobility as well as the commoners who had been educated by the scholar. It was a very large building – rather barn-like – with no doors on either side in order to allow easy access to the many guests who were invited to attend the festivities.
The king ordered that a large and fine variety of foods be served at the evening banquet. The fare was exceptional. The king seated the scholar at his right hand at the table of honor.
As the meal concluded, a small bird flew in from one end of the open structure, spent a few seconds flying around the candles at the king’s table, and departed through the other end of the building as quickly as she had entered.
The king took this to be a sign of some sort. He asked the scholar to explain it’s meaning.
The scholar responded, “My Lord – this is the story of life. Abruptly we emerge from the darkness, we spend a brief moment in the light and just as rapidly as we entered, we return to the darkness.”
Today my beloved companion – my golden retriever, Spenser left the light. Those of you who have loved companion animals and have lost them will understand the grief and my deep sense of loss.
During our years together, Spenser was my “scholar”. He taught me that extending selfless acts of love is the way in which we should live our lives. He never asked for much yet he always offered everything he had to give.
Would that we would only learn those lessons.
Perhaps that’s what the scholar taught the people in the great king’s realm.