Thursday, January 29, 2009

Solomon's Insight...

The following is another story taken from folklore. This is a story from the Holy Lands in modern idiom. Like so many stories originally delivered in the vocal tradition this story is both for entertainment and it has a moral to teach. Using stories such as this children were often entertained during the hours before bed and taught precepts that might benefit them in some way in their life. These stories often gave the family a chance to be together and share their closeness after the day's work was done and thus encouraged and reinforced family values as well. Story time was often used as a reward through entertainment for the children.

Story telling time has languished in our modern times. Stories have given way to modern electronic entertainment instead. Television and computers have superseded contact with family and lessened the ties of personal involvement with family. Games once played with others have been replaced in large part by games that are played alone. Actual social contacts have become slightly more stand-offish and relationships slightly more difficult to maintain with the loss of social skills that telling stories such as this one encouraged.

One development that has arisen is that there is a good deal of confusion between what is real and what is not. Actual news broadcasts are sometimes, or even often, indistinguishable from fictional entertainment. We have better and faster ways to communicate but those methods are often filtered in such manner as to create fictional accounts which are presented as real events. Events are "cooked" to add more opinion, more gore, more non-factual reporting and the results are easier to access than ever before.

After being exposed to many years of this sort of activity through electronic media, the youth of today often disregard or disbelieve events presented by the media. They become saturated to the point that they no longer need imagination. Reality is seen with disbelief. Death and violence is less real and yet has become more pervasive in our lives. Less regard is given to manners and respect as these items are less important to those brought up as only children in front of a video screen even though they may have siblings. The overall attitude is one of insulation and personal good has become more immediate than that of the multitude.

A victim of our modern times is the vocal tradition. Story time, when used, is still an important tool in reinstating traditional values. With that in mind I relate this very old story with the hope that it provides an opportunity for others to help reinstate and reinforce desirable family values once again. You, the reader, can revive and revitalize the vocal tradition. You'll be pleased at how this simple method can help to raise a family in these difficult times and in aid of this, I offer the following story:

The Wisdom Which Suleiman Learned From a Cat

It is said that of all men throughout history, the ancient King of Kings named by men, Suleiman or Solomon, was the wisest to ever live in the grace of his God.

The stories told of his insight, justice, fairness and piety are legion and among these stories is one that should always be remembered for this story tells how this wisest of all men learned respect of the wisdom of his god through the actions of a favored pet cat.

It is told that Suleiman owned among his treasures a great ring which he wore constantly on his hand and this ring granted him the grace of talking to animals and the ability to understand their replies as easily as you and I understand each other in the telling of this story. It is told that among his most treasured friends was an elegant golden colored cat given him as a gift by his chosen favorite of wives, most beautiful among women, the Queen named Balkis.

Suleiman often spoke with his cat and in this manner learned much of the world from the viewpoint of another and this knowledge he used to help him balance his judgments and rule his kingdom in a manner fair to all men who worshipped the Lord.

There was a rumor in the palace among the servants that the golden colored cat was descended from the a Goddess of exotic Egypt but this was never told in the hearing of Suleiman for he allowed no other than the One God in his sight and hearing and was devout in his worship thereof.

It was to be that from the action of this same golden colored cat that Suleiman was reminded of the wisdom of his God and became all the more firm in his faith thereby.

Suleiman spent many hours with his cat and so fond of the cat was he that he allowed it to sit at the table with him as he ate his meals and taught it to hold a silver candlestick that he might see the bounty of his meal by the light thereby and enjoy it all the more.

The cat sat obediently for Suleiman for great was the love they shared between them.

All of the great king's guests marveled at the obedience and grace of the cat as it sat motionless by Suleiman holding the candle that he might enjoy his meal until one particular man of the east came into the court and disputed the might of the King's teaching and the grace of his God thereby saying unto him, "Great King, you claim through the grace of God that you have taught this cat to hold the candlestick. But I can make this cat forget all that you claim to have taught and thereby the fallacy of the grace of your God that you claim granted you this power."

Suleiman smiled for in this he sensed a great challenge and was determined to test this claim made by the man from the east. He extended an invitation that the man might dine with him that evening.

That evening the Great King sat with the man from the East at a table laden with the finest of foods and the most delicate of delicacies and close by Suleiman, as always, sat his marvelous golden colored cat holding absolutely motionless with a silver candlestick between its paws.

With a smile the man from the east released a mouse from his sleeve in such a way that it ran directly over the cat's paw as it scurried away down the length of the table and ran from the room. The cat not so much as quivered a whisker as the mouse escaped and Suleiman smiled. The man of the east also smiled as he released a second mouse that once again scurried quickly past the cat as it escaped from the table. This time however the cat watched as the mouse ran quickly away and when a third mouse was released the cat dropped the candlestick and with one spring of its lithe form fell upon the mouse and devoured it.

At this turn of events the man of the east turned to Suleiman to announce his triumph and was astounded to find the great King laughing and with a rapturous smile of joy upon his face.

Undeterred the man spoke to the great King saying unto him, "You see, your majesty, you may not change the nature of the cat for all that you might claim to speak with it through the grace of your God."

With a bright smile and wiping tears of laughter from his eyes Suleiman was heard to say to the man, "Poor man, in this you have only exposed the foolishness of man and the wisdom of my God for the Cat was created by God with a purpose and all the vanities of King and common man may not improve upon it no matter as we may try."

It is said that the man of the east stayed in the court of Suleiman for many years and spent much of that time in the study and the worship of his new found faith in the wisdom of the One God.

As to what happened to the Cat? The Cat lived for many years and had many offspring and all were beloved as reminders of the wisdom of God and cherished therefore.

No comments: