Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Shrewdness (03/07/05)
By Shellie Power
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As he prepared to rest for the night he wondered how he would avoid the savages the next day. Surely they were waiting for him. The beasts seemed to consider him easy prey. The chase was always the same. Did they wait for him? How could he avoid them. That was his problem, he couldn't.
He had sought out advice from many other travelers. One told him to make sure that he always remained in a group. There is safety in numbers. The creatures seem to stay away from groups. The traveler considered this option but decided that although it provided safety and comfort it would mean that he would travel less because he would be restrained by the group.
Another traveler had gone to great lengths to disguise himself as the creatures. He could go anywhere safely because they did not chase after their own. However, each time he went to remove his disguise a small piece was left behind. His fingers were beginning to look as though they really were sharp talons. The more he pretended to be the more he actually became. The young traveler decided that this could not and would not be an option for him.
There was a great warrior among them who came dressed in the heaviest armor. He had spent many years learning how to battle and most of his journeys consisted of great fights and wars with creatures. He loved to share his conquests and suggested the young traveler learn to properly wield a sword. The traveler pondered this but decided it would take too much time away from his travels if he stopped to learn how to fight. It seemed that no one could provide him with a suitable solution.
It was then that he noticed a frail and quiet traveler. "How could this weak being possibly remain safe from the creatures?" wondered the young traveler. He approached the frail one to ask his advice. "Be shrewd as a snake, and innocent as a dove." was the answer to his question. He was puzzled and yet intrigued and so every time he had the opportunity he would seek out this traveler to learn more.
What he learned gave him confidence to travel for he learned about the ferocious beasts. They only attacked and chased after travelers, not each other. The man with the disguise had learned that but was actually becoming one of them. They also only prepared fight those who seemed to pose a threat. The warrior had learned this and that is why he was in constant battle.
"Be as shrewd as a snake." Those words kept repeating themselves. He had to outsmart the creatures. "Be as innocent as a dove." He needed to appear to be harmless.
It didn't take long for the young traveler to learn to equip himself and it was not as hard as he had once thought. He carried with him a mirror, for he had learned that all things are a reflection of their true self. His mirror revealed to him even the creatures who thought they could trick by dressing and acting as travelers. The fierce beasts would look into the mirror and see another savage and so they would retreat and the traveler would continue in safety. It wasn't long before other travelers would seek his advice and he passed on to them the best advice he had: "Be as shrewd as a snake and as innocent as a dove."
"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." Matthew 10:16
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