Once upon a time in the world, a man set out upon a journey. He built himself a boat and some paddles, and he got into his craft. Hoisting his mast, he sailed away from the shore and waved good-bye with his hat. He saw no one was watching, but what did it matter? He was off on his journey, happy and free. Right away, he had to pay a toll to the lake keeper to sail on the lake. While paying the toll, the sailor asked the lake keeper, "Why do you need toll money?" The lake keeper replied, "My wife needs new shoes and my son needs repair to his teeth."
"Well, indeed," said the sailor. "I, too, have had such troubles, but now I am sovereign and free. I don't need any assistance at all in order to get things done. I'm totally free."
"Good-bye, then," replied the lake keeper. "I'm happy to hear it, so off with you." He pocketed the toll money and measured his spyglass to watch for more free men such as this to come along and pay his toll.
Next, the sailor encountered a mean man chopping the grasses from the edge of the lake. The man was without virtue, was snarling, and was peering from under bushy eyesbrows at the approaching sailor. "Ahoy there, matey!" the sailor cried out. "I ask of you a favor. Will you help me dock my boat?"
The mean man said, "Deny yourself the pleasure, sir. I grant no favors, I give no gifts. I am but too pleased to give myself a tasking, and so I shall deliver you one, as well. Speak to me no more and sail on your way, sir."
Much befoggled by this, the sailor sailed on, focusing his eyes into the sun-streaked mist. He said to himself, "I wonder what would make a man so mean. But, what are we to know of these things? Let us just sail on."
The next thing to occur was miraculous. The sailor sailed into a tunnel in the mist. At the end of the tunnel was a bright light. He looked into the light and saw for himself that thing he had been sailing for - his life and how to live it. Enlightened by the experience, he turned his boat around and proceeded back in the direction he had come, only this time to see it differently.
He sailed back to the mean man cutting the grass along the lake and asked him, "Can I help you cut grass?" The man was surprised, and his beingness shifted. He was no longer snarling but he still peered from under his bushy eyebrows. He was still himself, nevertheless. He helped the sailor dock his boat.
The sailor returned to the lake keeper and asked him, "Can I help you collect tolls?" The lake keeper replied, "Yes, help me and I will pay you some of them."
"No problem," said the sailor. "But, you keep the tolls. Your wife and son need use of the money, and I am sovereign and free to do as I please. I have no need of tolls. I know of a lady who needs toll money to help pay her tolls. You can send her some, if you want to." The lake keeper sent the lady some tolls.
Then, the sailor returned to the side of the lake he had sailed from. He looked all around the place and thought, "This is perfect, this place. And perhaps I can sail out tomorrow and see how the lake keeper and the grass cutter are doing. They might need my help." With that, he lay upon the soft grass and enjoyed the starry night. Later, he dreamed of freedom and of what it might really mean.
Claire Grace Watson, M.S.T., Shield Guide