A tale of 1001 nights. Somewhere in the vast Arabian desert.
The travelers were crossing the vast desert. After laboriously laborng through the shifting burning sands in the dazzling sun all day, they found that they had not reached their destination. They had taken the wrong way, and were lost. The moonless night was an inky black and silent, and the lost travelers, their water supply exhausted, sat down to rest, dreading the coming of the dawn of what would surely be their last day on earth.
"I can take you where you wish to go" The voice of a stranger startled them from their weary reverie. A mysterious slender figure in a robe the color of the sand had suddenly appeared before them.
"Follow Me" the new guide ordered in a soft voice like the falling of sand through the fingers. Still stunned from the weary trek of the day, the travelers stood up, and followed him. The night was so dark, the guide's robe was barely visible to them. The followed closely, lest they lose him. The desert was eerily silent. The party came to a small hidden oasis. Water issued from a small heap of rocks.
"Drink", the guide commanded.The travelers drank gratefully, and fully of the black waters.
Their thirst satisfied, they all sat in the darkness, resting.
"Now, I bid you,
fill your pockets with the rocks of this spring. As many as you can carry - take them with you. My promise to you: In the morning you will be both joyful and sorrowful." The travelers did as they were bid, filling the pockets of their garments, and their travel sacks, with the smooth stones. The group resumed the desert journey, following the guide, afraid that he would disappear and leave them in darkness.
The stones were very heavy. Some of the travelers grew weary, and could no longer carry the stones. They slipped some rocks out of their pockets, and cast the rocks aside, leaving the stones behind along the way.
Finally, the party reached the edge of the desert in a familiar place, with no idea how they had ever made it through the desert night. When they travelers turned to thank their guide for deliverance, he had vanished.
Weary, the travelers made camp, and slept deeply and peacefully until morning. Awakening in the dawn of grace, they looked around them. As they looked in their pockets and sacks, they were indeed both joyful and sorrowful. For the rocks that they had blindly filled their pockets with in the darkness were in reality nuggets of purest gold. Joyful at the beautiful treasure they had acquired, and sorrowful that so much, so very much, had been left behind along the way.
And, so it is with me, and my Flowering Cacti. When I planted the seeds, at first they would not come up, and then when they did finally germinate, they grew into little furry-leafed weed-looking things. And then yesterday, they started to bloom - beautiful delicate yellow flowers. Now I wish I had planted more of them.
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