Miles and the Knight
Once, long ago but not very far away, there was a young man
Miles. Miles wanted to become a great warrior. So he thought, and
thought again, and said, "I shall go on a quest to find Perfect
Mastery." And so he did. Miles hung his sword, picked up his shield
and started out.
Now, Miles knew from legends and stories that the secret to
Mastery lay in the center of a Great Dark Wood. But when he reached
the forest he found that it was even Greater and Darker than he had
imagined. And it seemed to Miles that finding the center would be very
So he thought, and thought again, and said: "I shall look
for a path."
And so he did. Miles walked along the edge of the forest, first in one
direction and then the other. He walked and walked. Just when he was
about to stop and rest, he came upon two men.
The first was a young man about Miles' age. He had taken out
sword and was hacking his way into the tree-line. He was breathing
hard and sweating quite freely, but seemed to be making some
progress. The other man had white hair and a beard, but stood tall and
straight despite his obvious age. He wore a well-used and well-oiled
mail shirt and a plain hilted sword hung at his side. From time to
time he spoke encouragingly to the first man. Miles approached the
young man first and said, "Hello, I'm looking for Perfect
Mastery. Could you direct me to the path? " The young man merely wiped
his brow and continued his work. Miles turned to the older man and
said, "My name is Miles, and I'm looking for Perfect Mastery. Could
you direct me to the path?" The old man said, "I am Sir Veritas, and I
do know a path." He stepped aside and Miles could see a path leading
into the Great Dark Forest. "I am willing to show you this path if you
are willing to be my squire." Miles thought, and thought again, and
said, "I shall become your faithful squire." And so he did.
Sir Veritas removed his scabbarded sword and handed it to
Miles. "Here," said the knight, "See to its care." Miles took the
sword. It was heavy, but he held it carefully. The knight gestured for
Miles to enter the path first and said, "Start down the path, Miles. I
will be behind you in case you falter."
As Miles started down the path he turned to Sir Veritas. "Sir
said Miles, "why didn't you show the path to the other man?" The old
knight sighed, "He never asked."
"He must be a great fool," said Miles.
"Do not think poorly of him," said the Knight, "for
many the effort is
as important as reaching the goal. He chooses his own path."
Miles turned and started up the path. They walked and walked,
twisted and turned, rose and fell, and the knight's sword was
heavy. Sir Veritas warned Miles whenever they were coming upon a
pitfall or a low-hanging branch, but it was slow going.
By and by, they came upon another young man sitting by the
side of the
bath. He held a sword in his lap similar to the one Miles now
carried. The old knight greeted the young man courteously, and the
young man replied respectfully as they passed.
"Sir Knight," said Miles, "who was that sitting
by the side of the
The old knight sighed, "He is a squire, like yourself."
"He must be very lazy," said Miles.
"Do not think poorly of him," said the Knight. "He
has found a place
where he is comfortable, many do not make it even this far."
They walked and walked, the path twisted and turned, rose and
and the knight's sword was heavy.
"Sir Knight," said Miles, "I grow weary."
The old knight sighed, "I promised you a path. I did not
and easy one. you may rest if you wish, but we grow no closer to your
Miles thought, and thought again, and said, "I should
continue, Sir. If you would continue with me."
The knight said, "I will be behind you if you falter,
Miles; just stay
on the path." And so he did.
Suddenly, or so it seemed to Miles, they came upon a clearing.
about the clearing were other knights, most sat around fires
talking. As they entered the clearing Sir Veritas was greeted
familiarly by the others. And, to Miles' surprise, the knights hailed
him in friendly fashion as well. They were invited to sit and talk
for a while, and so they did. As they talked, Miles watched around
him. Occasionally, one of the other knights would get up, go to the
edge of the clearing and listen at the tree line. From time to time,
he would shout directions to someone unseen in the forest. Eventually
someone would break out into the clearing, and be greeted as Miles
Sir Veritas turned to Miles and said, "You may return
the sword now
Miles. This is as far as I can take you. You are now a knight in your
Miles handed the sword back to Sir Veritas. He had grown used
weight and it felt strange to suddenly be without it.
"Sir Knight," said Miles, "is this Perfect Mastery?"
The old knight
sighed. "No, young Miles, that is still further into the wood. From
here, you must find it for yourself."
"And these other knights?" said Miles, "have
they found the secret of
This time the old knight laughed. "No, I dare say not."
"Then why do they bide here? They must be very lazy."
"Do not think poorly of us Sir Miles. Now and again we
the wood. Now and again we go back to the edge of the wood to guide
others, for these are the duties of a knight. But sometimes it is
comfortable to sit here and rest awhile and talk with friends."
Miles thought, and thought again, and said, "Thank you,
for your help. For now I will venture a little ways into the wood. But
now and again I will come back to enjoy this fellowship. And now and
again I will go back to the edge of the wood and guild others. For
these are the duties of a knight." ... and so he did.
Last Updated: 28 June 98
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