7 Feb 2015

a parable: The Vase {Feb Love series}

A long time ago, there lived a people who had a strange custom. Here is how the custom went. When one came of age to marry - which got later and later over the years - one would receive a trust. The trust was an object of value which had to be cared for according to set conditions. After a period of time, deemed adequate by the Board, the carer may return the trust - in original or improved condition - to the Board. An extremely generous amount of money was then given that allowed the carer to literally live the rest of life without a care. Needless to say, every one coming of age was nervous and anxious about the trust they would receive.

Acreft fidgeted in his seat and looked furtively around the huge expanse of the waiting room. It was his turn to receive his trust - today. He thought long and hard about the possibilities. His mind constantly wandered to thoughts of how he would prefer something light and handy which hopefully, was also made of a hardy material. He was a travel writer and he needed the mobility. 'Surely they will take that into consideration', he thought to himself, half muttering the words out loud. Then he thought of how wonderful it would be if the trust was something that really blended in with his taste: like a limited edition Watermark pen perhaps. He caught himself gushing silently in lust, and promptly arrested his thoughts.

Finally, they summoned Acreft into the Board room. As he walked respectfully in, he chided himself for being foolish enough to live on here and thus be subject to this strenuous tradition when in his travels, he had found many perfectly wonderful options to make his abode.

The Board was expressionless. Seated in the middle of the large mahogany table was a mosaic-and-jeweled vase. Acreft thought that was helpful since he dreaded looking at the Board. Without words, the Board pushed a bright white sheet of paper across the table.  On it were written these words:
conditions: proper care and constant companionship. No loss of jewels.
Trust: venetian vase, 1624.
Return value: highest

Acreft almost fell out of his chair. 'What? This  is ridiculous! Look at that thing! I might as well just quit my job and buy a thousand feather dusters...'. Protestation after protestation ran through Acreft's mind; but the Board simply got up and left the room. Practically tearing, Acreft finally got up and reached for the vase. It was a relief that it did not weigh as much as it looked.

'Proper care and constant companionship', 'proper care and constant companionship'...became Acreft's mantra. He said it to himself so many times he lost count. Suddenly it struck him that he did not know how to care for a vase.

Robing the precious trust with his outer coat, Acreft made a beeline for the town library.  On the train ride to the library, Acreft felt watched, he was sure that the other passengers were casting knowing glances his way. He hugged the vase tightly and tried to look out the window, which was hard as he had an aisle seat. 
Armed with his research on proper vase care, Acreft felt that he would proceed with plans to visit an old historic tavern for his next assignment. This time round, he felt the trust would adequately repay his bill for a private compartment on the train. Acreft deftly seated the vase, padded it snugly, and secured it against sudden train jolts. The journey was uneventful and Acreft congratulated himself for being so trustworthy. He found a suitably appointed inn and rested for the night.

The tavern was empty when he went in, but soon an old, bent figure emerged from a dark corner. Acreft, who by now has designed a custom carrier for the Vase, thrust out his free hand to introduce himself. A welcome for his visit meant increased revenue for the businesses. The old man eyed Acreft, noting his very large carrier, and immediately shifted his weight so that he was now looking at Acreft in a rather unfriendly manner. Acreft tactically seated himself on a bar stool, the upholstery half torn, balancing his vase between himself and the counter. The old man walked languidly round
and once behind the counter, seemed more at ease. Still, it was not many drinks later, including a lengthy, unwelcome explanation about the Vase (of course!) which drew ridicule and laughter, that the bar owner was amiable enough to be interviewed. 

Finally, satisfied that he had enough material, Acreft left - exhausted and a little tipsy (he had no idea the local ale was that strong). Waiting for his ride home, Acreft noticed he is really tiring of the Vase. began to deeply resent the vase. He was horrified by the suggestions he entertained. Then he began wondering what other folks received as trust. As the images flashed before him, his yearning for them increased: he let his mind wander.

The small bench had space only for sitting - there were two old ladies already on it - so Acreft placed the vase on the ground. In fact, eager to shake off the cloud of frustration now enfolding him, he gladly listened to the slow repartee between the old ladies. It was rather amusing and provided relief as they complained endlessly about the restaurant they have just come from. That was stuff Acreft tuned in to easily; and he started writing a lazy script about the restaurant. 'Maybe a satire about the whole eating business', he mused to himself.

Trains began to pull into the station. They would stop for a good while before the station managers would hang up the destination signs on the trains. 'Where is my train?', Acreft eyed the tracks. The old ladies got up and walked off, obviously with pain of arthritis. Acreft saw his train and energetically pushed himself off taking large strides; as if to distinguish himself from the unsteady gait of the old ladies. He bounded up the train and found his compartment as the train began to pull off. When he finally turned to fasten his vase, he realised he had left it behind. Panic swelled and Acreft rushed out of the compartment, yelling at the top of his lungs, "Stop this train! Stop this train!".  Suddenly, something fell out - apparently from his own jacket pocket! He had not seen this before, this envelope. Acreft grabbed it and ran on through the corridor to get the help he needed. Finally he found the train conductor who assured him that the old town they left could be contacted and the object kept for him. He was to get off at the next station and take the next train back.

With no further options, Acreft returned to his seat. The envelope was still in his hand. He tore it and was surprised to find a letter from the Board. It had an unexpectedly friendly tone:
"Are you enjoying your trust? It has bits of jewelry that shine like little mirrors. These will shine light into your soul; so taking care of it is taking care of your own soul."

Your turn: How do you think this note will change how Acreft feels about the Vase?

{do share in the comments below}


  1. Acreft realized his mistake and uttered, "I should have held on firmly to what was taught in the old book of wisdom in 1 Cor 7:1 and 7:28 instead and should have prayed for the same gift as the author. Now I can only make a telegraph back to the tavern for the bar owner to retain it for me. The patronage and acquaintance surely would render this favor."

    Upon reaching the tavern, Acreft saw the old man bent, looking intently at the vase with two pieces of jewels in his hands.

    The old man regretfully explained that by the time he got there, the vase was abandoned next to the bench (as described by Acreft) but knocked out of the carrier and scratched - reason unknown. Fortunately, only the old man recognize the value and significance of the vase, and retrieve it with the two separated jewels which were tossed a stride away.

    Acreft was relieved and in response thanked the old man repeatedly and asked "Is there a Jewelsmith nearby who can fix this?"

    The old man replied, "There is one. But He only fixes objects with the special mark at the bottom. The mark cannot be removed once it is being imprinted"

    Acreft asked, "How can I have the mark?"

    The old man took out an ink pad, rubbed his right thumb on it and made a mark at the bottom of the vase.

    "You have it now, my friend, and I will lead you to Him."

    1. Thank you. What an interesting, nice ending you have helped to write! Please share who this Fixer is and what the mark means?


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