Tales : The mystery of the floating boat

A long time ago there was a young man who had reached the age when he wanted to wander in the world. His father, knowing him to be uneducated, gave him, as a parting gift, this piece of advice: Always look into things carefully. In that way, you will become wise.

The young man came from a very dry part of the world and as he wandered, his path brought him out of the dry lands to the bank of a wide river. He had never seen so much water before, and he marvelled to see that people were going back and forth across it in a strange contraption made of wood. People told him that it was called a boat.

“But what carries the boat across the river?” he asked.

“The water, simple boy,” they said. “The water carries the boat.”

Doubtfully, the boy went to the river bank and put his foot on the water, but the water did not carry his foot. It simply parted and his foot went to the bottom. There is a mystery here, he thought. I must look into this carefully.

Then with the others, he paid a coin and boarded the boat, and they told him, “Sit there. That is your place.” The young man sat down where they told him, and the boat began to cross the river. But he was still filled with curiosity about what was holding up the boat, so he took out a knife, and began to cut at the wood under his place, to see what was under the boat.

“Wait, what are you doing?” people shouted in alarm. “You must not cut the boat!”

“Never mind,” said the young man. “I paid for this place, and I am only cutting under my place, not yours. Don’t interfere – I want to become wise!”

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