Sapientia, a Fable

Wisdom is like a mouse: she is small and unassuming, and if you approach her on your own terms she will flee.

Sapientia wore a dress adorned with cowrie shells of every color as she walked down the path away from her village.

The day was drawing near an end, but even as the sun began to burn red in the low sky she was not afraid: she did not have far to go. She was returning to her house, which overlooked the sea. She found the people of the village too quarrelsome for her to dwell among them, so she had built her own abode some distance away.

However, when she got to her home, she saw a boar standing between her and the door. She approached it slowly and called to it in honeyed tone:

“Will you let me into my home, so that I can rest?”

The boar snorted and replied that he would not move; her home was his home now.

Sapientia argued with the boar. She had built it with her own hands! However, the boar kicked up dust and swiped at her with its tusks, tearing shells from her dress and sending her running back to town.

It was too noisy for her to get rest there, so she went to several of the hunters who had taken up lodging in the town, and asked them to help.

The first refused her request because he was tired and he had already hunted for the whole day.

The second refused her request because he did not hunt boars; he would hunt only wolves, who hurt the shepherd’s flocks, not boars, who he had no quarrel with.

The third refused her request because she could not pay him. She offered him the shells from her dress, which were worth quite a princely sum, but he still declined. It would not do, he said, to take the very clothes from such a distinguished elder, but he could not hunt for free on principle.

Sapientia turned and left the town, and was never seen there again.

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