The towns people gathered around him as he sat with his back to a great black barked tree that shaded almost the entire market place. They came to market as we do; to feed their families by selling their crafts and trading for neighboring crops from other fields and gardens than their own. The sun was hiding behind the seemingly endless branching that spread out above them. only occasionally did the sun find their eyes making them all squint and blink as if they were all applauding the sun with their eye lashes. He had come to them from a far off land. He spent nearly two years shining shoes not far from where he now sat. He would talk to any, but would soon fall to listening, as they spoke of their joys and sorrows. He would nod as he shined and polished the shoes of the towns people. They spoke freely as they believed he understood little of what was said. One day he stopped polishing, stopped shinning. he spent the money he had saved and bought a white pair of pants and a simple pull over white shirt. Then he sat on the bench beneath the tree. He brought out a sign he made that read: "New and often told stories told upon request (And a small donation.)" At first business was slow, a few children being dropped off as their parents attended to family business. After about a week, the mayor who liked to have his shoes polished everyday took a closer looked and recognized him. "But your the man whose been shining my shoes!" The Storyteller smiled and nodded his head. "Why were you shining shoes when you can tell stories!?" "When I first came here I didn't know any stories. I could hardly understand what was being said to me. As I learned the language I learned the stories. My stories are the stories of our town. The Mayor liked the man...but this could be more kinds of trouble than he knew how to deal with. He decided he had better stick around and hear a few of his stories. With the mayor taking a seat the empty spaces around him soon filled in! Politics will never change.. "To start off with I'd like to tell you a story of my homeland. It has been told many many times in every generation...then it came true and remains true unto this very day. THE STORY Once there was a beautiful princess. She had been blessed many times. She picked up languages as easily as a child and spoke easily and with grace to anyone. She was their champion and won every race upon the back of a huge black stallion that they say killed three men trying to restrain him. This of course before he came into her possession and surrendered to her his mighty heart. Her people thronged to the capital on holidays to hear her sing all the old songs of an ancient people. she sang from her heart and by heart! Then they begged her for the new songs, which they would learn then sing together all though the coming year. She wrote then sang the songs of the coming year...on the spot! To give her music the freshness of her hearts joys and sorrows. Both she and her people believed there was nothing she could not do. But she grew bored with her successes. scholarship came to easily to hold her interest. She was looking for a diversion when she overheard her fathers advisers talking of a sage who was revolutionizing their crop methods and who had predicted the floods then controlled the waters that came with his skills as an engineer. What really caught and held her attention was that this sage had retired from public life and nothing they could offer him could sway him. "At last a challenge!" She was upon her horse and gone within that very hour. She rode hard avoiding trouble where she could, leaving bodies where she could not. To use force against her was to court a sudden end. She arrived at the sages dirt floor hut exhausted and in a bad mood. Disliking the dirt that covered her most likely ruining her finely threaded clothes. She fed and watered her horse and then drank and washed herself. She steeled herself to do battle. She looked and her hand showed a slight trimmer. But she knew herself to be in full possession of her power and beauty. She introduced herself from his door step, speaking softly in the old man's native tongue, not heard by him since childhood. He stood there just a bit stunned...as she had intended. She silently unpacked a large black lacquer box she had taken off her horse. Pears, apples, grapes, peaches and figs! she piled on a plate for him along with rice cakes and wild honey. for herself she took but a single grape to darken her lips. As the old man ate she sang to him of exciting days and beautiful nights in the capitol. Singing more softly she sang of her mother whom death had taken. Then songs of virtue and devotion. Then to his utter amazement she undressed herself before him. "All you have ever wanted will be yours if come now, with me, and be my...pet. To entertain me when I'm bored perhaps to run errands for me if I'm not in to great a hurry." The story teller was silent but he continued to look down as this was his story telling posture. The people started to shift about once more aware of their bodies and trying to get comfortable...they waited....and waited. At last he looked up at them. 'How many of you here think the sage told her of her impertinence and sent her on her way with a good spanking to lessen her pride?" They spoke briefly among themselves but could not come to a collective conclusion. But More than a few raised their hands. The story teller nodded his head and was again silent for a time.Then looking up he asked: "How many of you think that the young women was so deeply effected by his bearing, his wisdom, humility and gentleness that she gave up her position of wealth and fame to join him in his retreat and so live in the dirt and so become a servant of God?" Again they spoke among themselves to try and reach a consensus, for this is the way village peoples work together every day, in things large and small they moved together. Many liked this ending much better and so changed their vote by voting again. But still no majority could be found. Then the story teller made a joke about never being able to please every one. But before they finished with their laughter he asked loudly how many think he burned down his hut, set his chickens free and went with her to the capitol to be her pet? Silence. Then he continued, "Because that's exactly what he did!" Then he laughed his kind and gentle laugh and said "To deep for the western mind!" shaking his head slowly. He laughed so long and infectiously that the whole town was was caught up in his merry net. The sun nearly set, he headed home. .A dozen children tagged along asking him to explain. As they walked they began to rotate around him, surrounding him like a garlin or the ripple on a a quite pond. Each trying to get a better position on the man. The children stopped to hear his answer, so he had to stop to avoid trampling on their toes. "Why did he go with her?" "You would to if you tasted her pears!" He jested with them. "No really why?"and "Wasn't she bad!?? they were as serious and implacable as the passing seasons. "So" He thought "I'm surrounded by old souls in new bodies!" "Because though her he could enlighten the entire realm.What ever light shines in her mind would in time illuminate all. Then he laughed and said again: "To deep for the western mind!" One of the smaller girls began to cry. Her older brother showed concern asking her to tell him what was wrong. "I don't want to be to deep." The story teller saw she was just tired. just a child in need of comforting. "It's alright child It's to deep for the Eastern mind as well In mind there is no east no west" He included the other children as he spoke. "if you see with western eyes you blind yourself if you hear with eastern ears,you deafen yourself. "If you have a Western mind or if you have a Eastern mind you have not heard the Tao. You have not seen the Tao" then almost to himself: "Come child, I'll carry you home." The girl went into his arms and put her arms around his neck. As he stood with her she asked: "Whats a Tao" The old man laughed at himself "Your trying to teach the Tao to Children!" "Your trying to teach the Dharma to the Buddha!" As he gently unwrapped her arms from his neck and gave her sleeping limp body over to her young father the story teller walked through a door he had never noticed before. and then he turned on the light and illuminated the town he had come so far to see.