Once upon a time a man and his wife were standing by the harbor. Their dream was to build a boat to carry goods for the people to the other side of the lake.
They had spent many hours studying how to build a boat, and the man had drawn a set of beautiful plans. But when they found out how much it was going to cost to build it, they realized they only had half the money.
So this day they were standing there, plans in hand, and wondered how they were going to fulfill their dream.
Then along came on Old Friend who wondered what they were doing. When he heard about their plans he said he would like to be part of their shipping business. And so they put their money together and the man and his wife built the boat.
And a fine boat it was. Right away their shipping business was good, and everyone was happy about their decision to sail the sea. As a matter of fact they were so happy that they decided to buy another boat for the mans wife to sail as well. But the second boat that they bought was not as strong as the first one. As the mans wife sailed it across the sea, it creaked and moaned and started to leak. She bailed and bailed to keep the water out, and finally she made it back to shore. But the boat was too damaged to sail again, and sadly they cut it all apart and sold the scraps for firewood.
But the first boat was strong and the three of them sailed it happily for many years. One day, however, a sudden storm appeared and tossed the ship about. Water started coming up through the bottom of the boat. Everyone started bailing as fast as they could. But the water kept rising in spite of their efforts. The Old Friend shouted out in panic that the boat was going to sink and that he was going to die. The man answered that he did not think so, and after all, they had a lifeboat big enough to hold all three. But the Old Friend pulled out a gun that he had hidden in his coat, pointed it to the mans head and forced him and his wife to load the most valuable cargo into the life boat. I dont care what happens to the two of you, he said, but I must save myself. I will sell the cargo to a thief and build a better boat thats all my own.
And then he quickly rowed away and left the other two to struggle for their lives.
The man and his wife had tears in their eyes, for they had lost someone they thought was their Old Friend.
Lars Giertz, October 1, 1992
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