Once upon a time there were two cart-horses. They worked together for many
years, pulling the cart of a peasant. Over the years, they often argued with each
other, complaining that the other was not keeping to its side, or was going just a
little too quickly or just a little too slow.
One day, one of the two horses suddenly died.The remaining horse was very
upset about this.It realized that in all the time that they had worked together, it
had not once told the other horse how much it valued its company and its faithful
help in pulling the cart. Now the chance was gone forever.
The horse also reflected on all the squabbles they had had. It suddenly
understood that it need not have taken offence as easily as it had done, that it
need not have borne as many grudges, that it could have been less arrogant, in
short, it realized that it had wasted all the energy that had been available for
friendship and kindness on unworthy and unnecessary thoughts and emotions.
The horse was ashamed and resolved to lead a different life in future. Whoever
its new partner was going to be, things were going to be different.But time
passed, and the horse forgot. One day, it caught itself in exactly the same kind
of behavior that it had sworn never to engage in again.
The horse could not understand why it had returned to its old ways.That
evening, in the stable, the horse decided to seek out the peasant's donkey,
which had a reputation for wisdom among the animals.The donkey listened to the
Eventually, it replied. "It is good that you have noticed what has happened. If
you truly want to change, this is possible; but it will, for a long time, cost you
your peace of mind. Are you prepared to accept this?" The horse replied that it
definitely did not want to return to its old ways. Anything was better than
So the donkey continued, "There is one very simple, and at the same time
very hard thing that you have to do. Remember every day that one day, perhaps
today, perhaps many years from now, you will die. Remember every day that the
horse next to you will die. Remember every day that every other creature you will
see, will one day die. Remember that all animals alive today are part of a wave,
which will soon break and be lost on the beach forever, to be followed by a new
wave, and another, and another. No wave is permanent. The only thing that is
permanent is the ocean."
There were tears in the horse's eyes.