Thursday, August 7, 2008

The capacity for happiness is equal only to the capacity for sorrow

One snowy Christmas, a young orphan boy received a jack-in-the-box. Never before having see a toy the boy asked what he was to do with the box. His headmaster told him he was to wind the crank, but would tell him know more for he wanted to keep the surprise alive. The boy looked quizzically at the box and set it aside while his headmaster returned to his work. You see, the boy had never been given much of anything but a hard time in life and he was slow to trust and even slower to jump into things he had not already done. So the boy could simply not understand what the point was to cranking the box. Did it supply food? He remembered seeing a coffee grinder similar to this that belonged to a doctor he visited. No, it was nothing useful he determined. If it was, his headmaster would have told him and he could certainly not find anywhere to put the coffee beans anyway. It continued to perplex him why anyone would want a box that you simply cranked on. Was this someone's idea of a cruel joke? Then suddenly a younger boy came up to him, wide-eyed and utterly fixated on the box. He had never seen anything like this before. The small boy asked what it was and the older responded that it was a box you cranked. The small friend asked if he might have a better look at it and grabbed it delightedly when the other nodded his head. He began feverishly spinning the crank. Within moments the top flew back and the small joker popped up on his wiggly spring, an endless grin painted on his face. The young lad was completely delighted and rolled on the floor in laughter. After a good go at it the small boy returned the box to his older friend and complimented him on the splendor of the toy. Yet the boy just stood there, his mouth agape, holding onto what he once thought a useless box. He dropped it to the floor and began crying. His smaller companion stared at him for a moment, shrugged his shoulders and went about pretending to be a jack-in-the-box for the rest of the day. All the while, the other boy just sat against a wall, wondering at the injustice of it all. If only the headmaster had told me he said to himself. All would have been well and I would have enjoyed the toy so much.

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