Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The song of the bird

From Anthony De Mello’s The song of the bird

A girl in the fishing village became an unwed
mother and after several beatings finally revealed
who the father of the child was: the Zen master
living on the outskirts of the village.

The villagers trooped into the master’s house,
rudely disturbed his meditation, denounced him
as a hypocrite, and told him to keep the baby.
All the master said was, “Very well. Very Well.”

He picked the baby up
and made arrangements
for a woman from the village to feed and clothe
and look after it at his expense.

The master’s name was ruined and his disciples
all abandoned him.

When this had gone on for a year, the girl
who had borne the child could stand it no longer
and finally confessed that she had lied. The father
of the child was the boy next door.

The villagers were most contrite. They prostrated
themselves at the feet of the master to beg his pardon
and to ask for the child back. The master returned
the child. And all he said was, “Very well. Very Well”

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