This too shall pass

"Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn."
- Harriet Beecher Stowe

Once upon a time, in a faraway Chinese province, lived a poor scribe who lived with his only and very much loved son. He was so poor, that the only inheritance he could leave to his son was knowledge of calligraphy.

Then, one day, it came time for the poor scribe to depart this valley of tears. Before he passed away, he gave his son two small boxes, one white and one black. “Alas, I have nothing to leave to you except this. Please, my son, remember and keep them always with you. When one day, you are in terrible sorrow, and it seems that life is not worth living anymore, open the black box. White one you keep, and open it when you think that you are the luckiest man on earth.” Saying this, the old man died and the son was left weeping, holding one black and one white box.

As he was now alone, young man went from job to job, often forced to work hard and long, just for daily bread. He wandered from province to province, slept hungry in forests, without any opportunity to find his place under the sun. One morning, he woke up feeling pain from hard work in all his joints and started weeping. “This is the end; I can’t live like this anymore” he thought. Suddenly, as he remembered his fathers dying words, he reached in this bag and with his trembling hands, opened the black box.

Inside, there was a small piece of rice paper with the following note: “This too shall pass!” Understanding this as his father’s message to continue the struggle of everyday life, he followed the road to the nearest city. By the city gates, large groups of peasants gathered and talked animatedly. They did not dare to enter the city since they could not read the large notice posted on the gates. The young man helped everybody by reading the notice aloud making understand that the entrance to the city is free. After a few days spent wandering the city’s squares, a small elderly Chinese asked him if he was the man who helped the peasants the other day. Old man said that his master, the city councilor, needed a scribe urgently and if the young man was willing, he can start working immediately.

The young man worked for the city councilor for many years. He worked hard and did his duty honestly. The councilor rewarded him richly for the services and in the end, the young man married councilor’s daughter, inheriting all the estates.

Years went by and one day, as he sat on the porch of his rich home, watching his children play, he understood that at this moment in time, he is perfectly happy. He remembered all his sorrows and hardship, he remembered his father, and he remembered the white box. Finding the box among his old stuff, he set, opened it and shivering from expectation read the note within. On the small piece of rice paper were the following words:
“This too shall pass!”

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