The Gatekeeper's Fee

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
An old man guards the cave of wisdom. What is inside?

Submitted: January 19, 2016

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Submitted: January 19, 2016



An old Indian man sat upon a bolder at the entrance of a large cave as two torches burned brightly, one on each side of the entrance.

A young man journeyed passed the cave just as the Sun rose high into the noonday sky. Suddenly, the young man stopped and turning toward the old man and asked, "Why do you sit in the hot Sunlight, are there not trees over there for shade?"

"I am the Gatekeeper to the Cave Of Wisdom, so I must remain here to guard the entrance," replied the Gatekeeper.

The young man scratched his head and then thought for a while.

When replying the young man inquired, "What wisdom does that cave hold that it is necessary to guard it?"

"The wisdom is mighty and could fall into the wrong hands, evil hands, so it must be guarded always," the old man replied.

The young man thought for a while longer and then said, "I am not evil, nor do I have bad intentions, so may I gain passage to obtain it?"

"You may gain entrance; however, each time you enter you will be given only one thought of wisdom at a time. You may enter once, twice, or three times and you must pay the Gatekeeper fee each time that you enter," said the Gatekeeper.

"And how much is the Gatekeeper fee?"

"Two coins of silver each time that you enter, however, five coins of silver would allow you to enter all three times," was the reply.

"What wisdom could be worth such a cost?" questioned the young man.

The Gatekeeper replied with a smile, "It has been said that Wisdom paid for with sweat, or with silver, is retained, wisdom that is received for free has to be received many times before understood; but more often than not, it is wasted."

The young man paid the Gatekeeper five coins of silver and entered the cave.


In a short amount of time the young man exited the cave and complained that no wisdom came to him; he wanted his silver back.

The Gatekeeper laughed and said, "The first Wisdom that is always given is that of Patience, you did not wait long enough, so you are discontent. Remember the wisdom in patience and it will serve you well throughout your lifetime.

Now enter again for the second wisdom, and do try to be patient."

So the young man went back into the cave and after a very long time he emerged with yet another complaint.

"Again, I received no wisdoms while inside the cave and I was very patient this time. It is cold, damp, and dark in there and if I had stayed much longer I might have caught a horrific cold, or an even worse condition. I want my silver back!"

The Gatekeeper laughed again. Then he asked, "Didn't you notice how dark, damp and cold it was in the cave during your first visit inside? The second wisdom is to Always Be Prepared. If you had the second wisdom when you went into the cave the second time, then you would have taken a torch in with you.  

Now, go back into the cave for your final wisdom, and take a torch with you this time."

So, for the third and final time, the young man entered the cave with both torches in his hands.


The next morning the young man came out of the cave with furry in his eyes and spent torches in his hands.

"I have listened to your explanations long enough!" He exclaimed. "Give me my silver back or I shall take it from you by force!"

The Gatekeeper sat, quietly chanting, with his eyes closed.

Again the young man yelled at the Gatekeeper, there was no visible response.

Suddenly the young man lunged at the Gatekeeper and soon found himself battered, bruised, and lying in the dirt.

"That is your Third Wisdom," said the Gatekeeper.

"From the moment that you saw me you made the assumption that you could overpower me because I am old and look to be frail.

Never Assume Anything is your third Wisdom.

"But what about the cave," the young man meekly questioned? You said that it was the Cave of Wisdom, yet it has taught me nothing. Instead, you have been the teacher all along. I was deceived and have not gotten my silver's worth."

Returning to his bolder, the Gatekeeper replied, "How many Wisdom's did I say you would receive? --- Three! --- And you have received what you paid for. 

I never said that the cave would talk to you, that was an assumption on your part, with wisdom you would not have made that mistake. You would have been Patient, and you would have been Prepared with a battery of questions to ask me before you paid the Gatekeeper's fee.


However, because you feel that you did not get your silver's worth, even though you were given the three wisdoms that you paid for, three wisdoms that you will NOT soon forget, I might add.

So, as a symbol of my good faith, I will give you a Fourth Wisdom at no additional cost. Are you ready to receive this wisdom?" asked the Gatekeeper.

"Ah, sure, I guess so," stammered the surprised young man.

The Gatekeeper looked the young man straight in the eyes and said, "Never Trust a Salesman."


D. Thurmond / JEF  ---  01-18-2016

© Copyright 2018 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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