Sunday, May 01, 2011

What is Fate?

Years ago I encountered a great quotation on a web page of random online humor.
A priest asked,
What is Fate, Master?

And he answered:
It is that which gives a beast of burden its reason for existence.
It is that which men in former times had to bear upon their backs.
It is that which has caused nations to build by-ways from City to City upon which carts and coaches pass, and alongside which inns have come to be built to stave off Hunger, Thirst and Weariness.
It is that which has caused great fleets of ships to ply the Seven Seas wherever the wind blows.

And that is Fate? said the priest.

Fate... I thought you said Freight, responded the Master.

That's all right, said the priest. I wanted to know what Freight was too.
The attribution was simply a book entitled The Profit.

Curious, I searched online but found nothing more.  So for years I've wondered about this possibly non-existent book.

Now and then, at used book stores, I would come across the famous Kahil Gibran book and get excited, only to realize this was not the book I was looking for.  (That book is a pleasant enough collection of parables, but I find scripture's wisdom writings and parables superior.)

Last week I was duped again, noticing the Kahil Gibran book on a friend's bookshelf.  Reminded about the mystery book, I made another attempt to search online...and found it in its entirety on a web page!  The Profit by Kehlog Albran turns out to be a pardoy of Kahil Gibran's text, with the quotation above as its wittiest section.

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