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THE VOICE WITHIN

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  2 April 2017 12:00 AM GMT

Once, a samurai set out on an errand. Precisely a year ago, he had lent a tidy sum of money to a fisherman, and it was now the day the fisherman had promised he would repay the debt.
Arriving at the coastal village, the samurai headed to the beach where the fisherman was working on his nets. Upon seeing the samurai, the fisherman threw himself to the ground. “Get up,” said the samurai, “as agreed, it has been a year and I have come to collect the money you owe me.”
“I have not forgotten it,” said the fisherman with his head bowed, “but it has been a bad year for me and I am sorry I cannot repay my debt.”
Hearing this, the samurai flew into a rage and drew out his sword. “Why should I not slay you instead?” he roared, raising the blade. Knowing he had nothing to lose now, the fisherman said: “I too have been learning the martial arts. But my master has taught me never to strike when angry. I beg you, please give me one more year to pay you what I owe.”
Slowly, the samurai lowered his sword. “Your master is wise,” he said, “it is a lesson I often forget. Okay, you shall have another year to repay your debt.”
It was dark by the time the samurai returned home. Seeing no lights, he crept in quietly, not wishing to wake up the household. As he entered his bed chamber, he saw two persons lying on his futon. One he recognized as his wife, and the other unmistakably another samurai from his clothing!
Raging, the samurai pounced with his sword to slay them both. Just as he was about to strike, the fisherman’s words came back to him — ‘Never strike in anger’. Pausing at once, the samurai thought to himself: “This time I shall follow the lesson”.
Taking a deep breath, the samurai relaxed, then made a noise. Hearing it, both his wife and the stranger immediately woke up. As they lit the candle at the bedside, the samurai found himself face to face with his wife, and his mother dressed up in his clothes and another set of swords.
“What is the meaning of this?” he spluttered, “I almost killed you both!” His wife quickly explained that when he had not returned by nightfall, she decided to dress his mother up in his clothes so that if any intruder entered the home, they would be frightened off at the sight of a samurai inside.
At that moment, the samurai realized that his habit of striking without thinking had almost cost him the life of his wife and his mother, the two persons dearest to him. They had taken the right precaution, because samurais sometimes made deadly enemies who would strike at night.
A year passed by. The samurai again walked down the same beach to meet the fisherman. After the formal greetings, the fisherman said, “It has been a good year, my Lord. Here is the money I owe you as promised, along with interest.”
“Keep your money,” replied the samurai, smiling: “You do not know it, but you repaid your debt a year ago.”
—the harbinger

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