The Obedient Son
Once upon a time, in a small village far away, there lived a man and his son. The son was devoted to his father and always willing to learn from him. The father loved his son deeply and created a series of lessons by which his son would learn the skills he would need in later life.
One day, the man called his son to him and said, 'Son, for today's lesson, I want you to swear an oath unto me'
The boy nodded nervously, wondering at the nature of the oath. If he was asked to swear an oath, then it must be important. An oath was a binding contract held by trust and to break it was a black stain on a man's reputation.
His father said, 'Son, from this day forth until I choose, you are to obey every command I give you. Do you swear to obey my orders?'
His son took the oath heartily. 'Of course I do, father. I swear to obey your orders without question.' He said excitedly.
The father nodded. 'Good.' He replied. 'For your first task, you are to go the shopkeeper and ask for two buckets. Any kind of bucket will do as long as they are empty.'
The boy went out into the village and did as he was ordered. Soon, he was back with two empty buckets.
'Excellent.' The father said. 'Your next task is to go into the yard and gather up the chickens into the pen.'
The son nodded and went into the yard. It took a while longer than he thought, but eventually all the chickens were gathered in the pen.
The father came out to see for himself and nodded his approval. 'Now, my son, I want you to kill these chickens and pluck them. Put the feather in the buckets you fetched this morning.'
The son swiftly killed the chickens and spent all his time plucking the chickens. It took him a long time but by dawn the next day, all the chickens had been plucked.
'Now, son,' the father declared, 'you must go to the trader and pick up two more buckets that he has been keeping for me.'
Once again the son ran off into the village and returned a while later with two buckets of tar. The father sniffed at them and smiled. Then he said, 'Now, son, I must ask you to pour the tar upon yourself.'
The son hesitated for a moment at this, but he remembered the oath he had made and thought that there was a reason for all of this. So, with some reluctance, he poured the tar over himself. Once he was done, his father took up the buckets of feather and poured the feathers on his son, watching in silence as the feathers stuck to his son's body.
'Father!' His son cried, realising his mistake. 'What have you done to me?'
His father simply stood there in silence. 'My son, you are better off asking what you have done to yourself. Now, let us go down to the river.'
The father took his son down to the river. As they went down, several of the villagers passing by noticed the son's appearance and laughed at him, pointing at the feathers stuck to his tarred body.Finally, they reached the river and the son climbed in in order to wash himself. It took a long time and the sun was setting in the west as the last of the tar and the feathers was washed off.
The son climbed out of the river and confronted his father angrily.
'Father! Why did you do that to me? You made me look like a perfect fool! You told me to do all of those things just so I could make myself look like the village idiot.'
To which his father replied, 'Yes, my son, I did. Do you see why I did that though?'
The son thought for a long time and shook his head.
'My son,' the father went on, 'you brought this upon yourself. I gave the orders, but you obeyed them without question. At no point save near the end, did you hesitate. At no point did you question my orders until the deed was done.'
The son was silent for a moment as he considered his father's words. 'But Father, you told me to swear an oath to obey your orders.'
The father nodded. 'Yes, son, I did. I told you to obey my orders, but I never said you could not question my orders. You must learn, my son, to think for yourself. Learn well the lesson here:'
TO FOLLOW ORDERS BLINDLY IS TO INVITE YOUR OWN DESTRUCTION. THINK FOR YOURSELF AND YOU WILL PROSPER.'
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