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De Quiros on Humility

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A boy, who lived by the riverbank and who took a banca to and from school, once thought to show off his learning to the boatman on his way home. “Do you know how to read?” he asked the boatman, as their banca glided through the water. “Alas, no,” said the boatman, “I have not gone to school, and so do not know it.” “Alas indeed,” said the boy, “for you have lost one-fourth of your life.”

 

 

After a short while, the boy asked again, “Do you know how to write?” Again, the boatman shook his head and said, “Alas, no, I have not gone to school, and so do not know it.” “Alas, indeed,” the boy gloated, “for you have lost another quarter of your life.”

 

 

And still after a short while, the boy asked again, “Do you know how to count?” And still the boatman answered, “Alas, no, I have not gone to school, and so, do not know it.” “Alas, indeed,” the boy echoed, “for you have lost still another one-fourth of your life.”

 

 

The boy was about to deliver the clincher some moments later, when the boatman beat him to it. “Do you know how to swim?” the boatman asked, before they boy could ask him what else he knew, or didn’t know. “Not at all,” said the boy, “for I have been busy studying and have found no time for it.” “Alas,” said the boatman, pointing to leak that had sprung in his banca, “for you have lost all your life!”

Conrado De Quiros, Tongues on Fire

page 181, Sense and Sensibility

 

 

cdq5.JPGIndeed a fine story, in that it “imparts a good lesson in humility, or simple propriety” as De Quiros postscripts.

If you haven’t gotten this collection of speeches, go and get a copy. Tongues on Fire is one wonderful read.

By the way, I had my copy autographed and such a great time listening to his speech during the launch. What a privilege to read De Quiros.

Available at all National Bookstore Outlets and Power Books. Or, go to http://www.anvilpublishing.com and find out how you can order online.

 

 

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