At the border of a forest, a landlord had a big garden, which he liked very much. As he couldn’t look after it himself, he appointed a gardener to take care of the garden. The gardener was very faithful, and looked after the garden very well. 🐒
However, it was the summer season and he had to water the plants daily. As a result, there was no holiday for him, because, if he ever took leave, even for a day, most of the plants would dry up. 🐒
Whenever, he approached the landlord with a request to take even a day off, the landlord would puff up and say, “Who would water the plants in your absence? 🐒
As there is no one else to water the plants in your absence, I am afraid; I cannot grant you any leave”. The gardener was frightened and had no reply. 🐒
And as a result, he had to give up the thought of taking any day off. And hence the drudgery continued. One day, as the annual temple festival was to take place in the gardener’s village; he was very eager to go and participate in the festivities. 🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒
Hence, he decided to take at least one day off, but did not have the courage to face the landlord and ask for a day off. So, he thought all night, and came up with a plan. 🐒
He decided to approach a group of monkeys that were staying in a nearby forest. The gardener cautiously approached the leader of the monkeys and told him that he was a gardener, and worked in the big house, bordering the forest. 🐒🐒
He pointed out to the house and the leader of the monkeys, nodded in acknowledgement. The gardener said that the house belonged to the landlord, and that he was a cruel and unkind man. 🐒🐒
He went on to add that the landlord did not give him a single day’s rest. The gardener then put forth his plight to the leader of the monkeys. He said, “Tomorrow is a big festival in my village, and I wish to go and participate. Can you possibly help me?” 🐒🐒
The monkey chief was a bit taken aback, as he had no idea as to how help the poor gardener. He asked the gardener, “In what way, can I or my subjects help you?” 🐒
The gardener then laid down his plan. For one day, starting tomorrow, you and your subjects, please look after my work”. 🐒🐵
He further added that he would provide vessels and pots to all the monkeys, and all they had to do was to take it to the river, fill it, and subsequently water each plant. 🐒🐵
The monkey chief, after listening to the gardener’s tale of woe, felt pity for him and said, “Don’t worry, you go and attend your festival, and we shall look after your work”. 🐵🐒
The gardener was relieved and happy. He gave some vessels and pots to the monkeys and quickly left for his village to take part in the temple festival. 🐒🐒
However, the monkeys had one doubt. They had no idea as to how much water; they should pour on each plant, as they forgot to ask the gardener. 🐒🐵
So the approached the chief and told them about their problem. The monkey chief thought for a while and said, “You have to water each plant, according to the length of its root.” His subjects then asked the leader on how they could find the length of the roots. The monkey chief, got a bit angry, dismissed them and said, “Pull out each plant, find out how far the roots have gone in, and put them back and then water each plant accordingly.” 🐒🐵
The monkeys’ were awestruck at their chief’s wisdom and they all applauded. The chief, then proudly asked his subjects to get down to work without delay. 🐒🐒
The monkeys’ did as advised – they pulled each plant out, saw the length of the roots and planted them back haphazardly, and watered them. Because of this, most of the plants lost their roots in this process and started drying up. 🐒
The next day, the landlord came out for a stroll in his favorite garden, and noticed that all his plants had been uprooted, and that they were drying up. 🐒
He immediately summoned for the gardener. The frightened gardener told the landlord what had happened, and this made the landlord very angry and he immediately dismissed the gardener from his job. 🐒🐒
As a result of his foolish act, the gardener lost his job! 🐒
Oh my goodness 😂 the 🐒 Monkeys ride again 🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒
“I try and live by that quote: ‘You can’t change the hand you’re dealt, but you have full control over how you respond to it’,” Bianca tells 7Life.
Bianca confesses it’s taken her 40-plus years to wear the smile she has now.
The Victorian is somewhat of a medical mystery, with doctors claiming they weren’t sure if she would live a long life or have children.
Bianca lives with a rare genetic blood disorder – so rare that she shares the condition with just a few hundred people worldwide.
Only a dozen of them live in Australia.
In the ‘80s, as the AIDS epidemic reached its peak, the schoolgirl was mocked by her peers for receiving the blood transfusions she needed to keep her alive.
“I was bullied a bit at school – kids can be so mean. I would get ‘do you have AIDS?’ and stuff like that,” Bianca recalls.Bianca lived with a rare genetic blood disorder which required her to get regular blood transfusions. Credit: Supplied
She still has routine blood transfusions, a procedure that in 2022 doesn’t turn heads.
When she fell pregnant at 19, it was a joyous yet stressful occasion.
Three happy and healthy children later, Bianca, alongside husband Fred, felt like life was on track.
However in 2010, Fred and Bianca parted ways and began co-parenting.
Fred moved on and, soon after, Bianca met her “rock”, Geof.
“He is just the best egg, the greatest man,” Bianca says.
The ‘c’ word
Then everything came crashing down when Fred was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
“It was really…really hard,” Bianca confesses.
Fred’s relationship crumbled, leaving him battling the disease alone.
As he grew weaker, Bianca and Geof stepped up and selflessly took Fred in, becoming his full time carer.
‘I just didn’t know what the future held,’ – Bianca Bassett
For two months, as her ex-husband’s condition deteriorated, Bianca and Geof never left his side.
“He (Fred) had the world fooled,” she says.
“He was so charismatic and was telling everyone not to worry because he will beat this thing.
“And then he didn’t.
“He fought so hard.”Bianca lost her leg after a fungal infection left her fighting for her life. Credit: Supplied
When Fred lost his fight in 2012, the hardest aspect for Bianca was watching her children grieve.
“I just kept asking myself: ‘How could I raise my children to be positive and happy when there was just this huge cloud of grief over them?’,” she says.
“After he died, I felt like I was turning the page of the book of life and it was blank…just empty.
“I just didn’t know what the future held.”
Geof remained her “constant” and Bianca finally felt like the world was tipped back onto its axis again.
“He was just always there,” she smiles.
In 2014 the pair wed, surrounded by their closest friends and family.
“It was just everything we wished for,” she adds.
The blended union meant Bianca went from a single mother of three to a married mum of five overnight.
“It just felt like we had moved on with our new norm,” she says.
Her next battle
Then two years later, in 2016, the mum was left fighting for her life.
Raced to the emergency department with an unknown illness, the last thing Bianca remembers is waking up in the ICU with her left leg missing.
“I had lost my memory…I had no idea what had happened,” she recalls.
She had contracted a rare fungal lung infection, and was on the brink of death.
“It was from garden fertiliser, but there was just one problem – I don’t garden,” Bianca now laughs.
Doctors believe Bianca could have ended up with the rare mould spores in her lungs from “anyone’s fertiliser”.
“I could have just walked past a freshly fertilised garden I suppose,” she says.
‘I just remember him saying that I can’t die because the kids need me,’ – Bianca Bassett
The fungal infection also caused the woman to contract deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot occurring deep within a vein, in the lower part of her left leg.
Buried within her leg, the clot was untreatable and eventually restricted blood flow, causing the limb to “die”.
As a result, while she was still in a coma, surgeons amputated her leg just above the knee, leaving the mum with a small section of her thigh.
Drained of colour, the mum lay in ICU for almost a month.
Twice medical staff raced to her side to restart her heart.
Bianca says she is not an overly religious person, but when she ‘passed’ she remembers being in a limbo state.
“I know it sounds crazy, but Fred was there,” she recalls.
“I just remember him saying that I can’t die because the kids need me.”
So Bianca kept fighting.
Pumped with strong sedatives and painkillers, the mum admits when she came to, the medication caused her to momentarily “lose her mind”.
“In my mind when I woke up, Keith Urban was playing a concert in my room,” she laughs.
“I was playing air guitar and everything. All thanks to the ketamine.”Bianca admits that her husband Geof has been her solid rock through all of the turmoil. Credit: Supplied
But Bianca was quickly thrust into the seriousness of the situation as she realised her left leg was missing.
After developing a blood clot, Bianca’s leg “died”, leaving surgeons with the only option to remove the decaying limb.
Bianca believes the time she spent ‘in limbo’ made her re-evaluate her life.
“I woke up and was just happy I was awake,” she says.
“I was just so grateful to have my life I never really grieved my limb loss.”
The mum embraced her rehabilitation and, at home, she had some mental rehab to do as well.
Decluttering her house, she shifted her mindset and decided that “now” is the right time to start creating memories.
“You leave this life with nothing so why wait?” she asks.
Now Bianca lives life to the fullest and is unapologetically herself.
“Honestly my life…you can’t make this s*** up!” she exclaims.
She is the first one to confess that rehab is hard and she often opts for a wheelchair over her prosthetic.
“I am lazy, what can I say,” she laughs.
Ironically, Bianca met Keith Urban – for real this time – at his concert a few years back and shared the joke about her “first encounter” with him.Bianca wrote and self published her memoir titled ‘Walking My Path……Building Memories’ Credit: bianca.bassett12/Instagram
She has travelled to the US to meet a woman with the same genetic blood condition that she has, and has also connected with others living with the disorder, here and internationally.
Bianca’s ‘hats’ have drastically changed over the years – from sick kid to wife to mother to wife again, then to step-mum and now amputee.
She answers to all of the above.
But what she’s learnt over the years is how to smile – and to never say never.
Some years ago, in company with an agreeable party, I spent a long summer day in exploring the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. We traversed, through spacious galleries affording a solid masonry foundation for the town and county overhead, the six or eight black miles from the mouth of the cavern to the innermost recess which tourists visit,—a niche or grotto made of one seamless stalactite, and called, I believe, Serena’s Bower. I lost the light of one day. I saw high domes, and bottomless pits; heard the voice of unseen waterfalls; paddled three quarters of a mile in the deep Echo River, whose waters are peopled with the blind fish; crossed the streams “Lethe” and “Styx;” plied with music and guns the echoes in these alarming galleries; saw every form of stalagmite and stalactite in the sculptured and fretted chambers,—icicle, orange-flower, acanthus, grapes, and snowball. We shot Bengal lights into the vaults and groins of the sparry cathedrals, and examined all the masterpieces which the four combined engineers, water, limestone, gravitation, and time, could make in the dark.
The mysteries and scenery of the cave had the same dignity that belongs to all-natural objects, and which shames the fine things to which we foppishly compare them. I remarked, especially, the mimetic habit, with which Nature, on new instruments, hums her old tunes, making night to mimic day, and chemistry to ape vegetation. But I then took notice, and still chiefly remember, that the best thing which the cave had to offer was an illusion. On arriving at what is called the “Star-Chamber,” our lamps were taken from us by the guide, and extinguished or put aside, and, on looking upwards, I saw or seemed to see the night heaven thick with stars glimmering more or less brightly over our heads, and even what seemed a comet flaming among them. All the party was touched with astonishment and pleasure. Our musical friends sang with much feeling a pretty song, “The stars are in the quiet sky,” &c., and I sat down on the rocky floor to enjoy the serene picture. Some crystal specks in the black ceiling high overhead, reflecting the light of a half-hid lamp, yielded this magnificent effect.
I own, I did not like the cave so well for eking out its sublimities with this theatrical trick. But I have had many experiences like it, before and since; and we must be content to be pleased without too curiously analyzing the occasions. Our conversation with Nature is not just what it seems. The cloud-rack, the sunrise and sunset glories, rainbows, and northern lights are not quite so spheral as our childhood thought them; and the part our organization plays in them is too large. The senses interfere everywhere and mix their structure with all they report of. Once, we fancied the earth a plane, and stationary. In admiring the sunset, we do not yet deduct the rounding, coordinating, pictorial powers of the eye.
The same interference from our organization creates most of our pleasure and pain. Our first mistake is the belief that the circumstance gives the joy which we give to the circumstance. Life is an ecstasy. Life is sweet as nitrous oxide; and the fisherman dripping all day over a cold pond, the switchman at the railway intersection, the farmer in the field, the negro in the rice-swamp, the fop in the street, the hunter in the woods, the barrister with the jury, the belle at the ball, all ascribe a certain pleasure to their employment, which they give it. Health and appetite impart sweetness to sugar, bread, and meat. We fancy that our civilization has got on far, but we still come back to our primers.
We live by our imaginations, by our admirations, by our sentiments. The child walks amid heaps of illusions, which he does not like to have disturbed. The boy, how sweet to him is his fancy! how dear the story of barons and battles! What a hero he is, whilst he feeds on his heroes! What a debt is his to imaginative books! He has no better friend or influence than Scott, Shakspeare, Plutarch, and Homer. The man lives to other objects, but who dare affirm that they are more real? Even the prose of the streets is full of refractions. In the life of the dreariest alderman, fancy enters into all details and colors them with a rosy hue. He imitates the air and actions of people whom he admires and is raised in his own eyes. He pays a debt quicker to a rich man than to a poor man. He wishes the bow and compliment of some leader in the state, or in society; weighs what he says; perhaps he never comes nearer to him for that, but dies, at last, better contented for this amusement of his eyes and his fancy.
The world rolls, the din of life is never hushed. In London, in Paris, in Boston, in San Francisco, the carnival, the masquerade is at its height. Nobody drops his domino. The unities, the fictions of the piece it would be an impertinence to break. The chapter of fascinations is very long. Great is paint; nay, God is the painter; and we rightly accuse the critic who destroys too many illusions. Society does not love its unmaskers. It was wittily, if somewhat bitterly, said by D’Alembert, “qu’un état de vapeur était un état trés fâchieux, parcequ’il nous faisait voir les choses comme elles sont.” I find men victims of illusion in all parts of life. Children, youths, adults, and old men, all are led by one bauble or another. Yoga Nidra, the goddess of illusion, Proteus, or Momus, or Gylfi’s Mocking,—for the Power has many names,—is stronger than the Titans, stronger than Apollo. Few have overheard the gods or surprised their secret. Life is a succession of lessons that must be lived to be understood. All is a riddle, and the key to a riddle is another riddle. There are as many pillows of illusion as flakes in a snowstorm. We wake from one dream into another dream. The toys, to be sure, are various and are graduated in refinement to the quality of the dupe. The intellectual man requires a fine bait; the sots are easily amused. But everybody is drugged with his frenzy, and the pageant marches at all hours, with music and banner and badge.
Amid the joyous troop who give in to the charivari, comes now and then a sad-eyed boy, whose eyes lack the requisite refractions to clothe the show in due glory, and who is afflicted with a tendency to trace home the glittering miscellany of fruits and flowers to one root. Science is a search after identity, and the scientific whim is lurking in all corners. At the State Fair, a friend of mine complained that all the varieties of fancy pears in our orchards seem to have been selected by somebody who had a whim for a particular kind of pear, and only cultivated such as had that perfume; they were all alike. And I remember the quarrel of another youth with the confectioners, that, when he racked his wit to choose the best comfits in the shops, in all the endless varieties of sweetmeat he could only find three flavors, or two. What then? Pears and cakes are good for something; and because you, unluckily, have an eye or nose too keen, why need you spoil the comfort which the rest of us find in them? I knew a humorist, who, in a good deal of rattle, had a grain or two of sense. He shocked the company by maintaining that the attributes of God were two,—power and risibility; and that it was the duty of every pious man to keep up the comedy. And I have known gentlemen of great stake in the community, but whose sympathies were cold,—presidents of colleges, and governors, and senators,—who held themselves bound to sign every temperance pledge, and act with Bible societies, and missions, and peace-makers, and cry Hist-a-boy! to every good dog. We must not carry comity too far, but we all have kind impulses in this direction. When the boys come into my yard for leave to gather horse-chestnuts, I own I enter into Nature’s game, and affect to grant the permission reluctantly, fearing that any moment they will find out the imposture of that showy chaff. But this tenderness is quite unnecessary; the enchantments are laid on very thick. Their young life is thatched with them. Bare and grim to tears is the lot of the children in the hovel I saw yesterday; yet not the less they hung it round with frippery romance, like the children of the happiest fortune, and talked of “the dear cottage where so many joyful hours had flown.” Well, this thatching of hovels is the custom of the country. Women, more than all, are the element and kingdom of illusion. Being fascinated, they fascinate. They see through Claude-Lorraines. And how dare anyone, if he could pluck away the coulisses, stage effects, and ceremonies, by which they live? Too pathetic, too pitiable, is the region of affection, and its atmosphere always liable to a mirage.
We are not very much to blame for our bad marriages. We live amid hallucinations, and this especial trap is laid to trip up our feet with, and all are tripped up first or last. But the mighty Mother who had been so sly with us, as if she felt that she owed us some indemnity, insinuates into the Pandora-box of marriage some deep and serious benefits, and some great joys. We find a delight in the beauty and happiness of children, which makes the heart too big for the body. In the worst-assorted connections, there is ever some mixture of true marriage. Teague and his jade get some just relations of mutual respect, kindly observation, and fostering of each other, learn something, and would carry themselves wiselier if they were now to begin.
‘Tis fine for us to point at one or another fine madman as if there were any exempts. The scholar in his library is none. I, who have all my life heard any number of orations and debates, read poems and miscellaneous books, conversed with many geniuses, am still the victim of any new page; and, if Marmaduke, or Hugh, or Moosehead, or any other, invent a new style or mythology, I fancy that the world will be all brave and right if dressed in these colors, which I had not thought of. Then at once, I will daub with this new paint, but it will not stick. ‘Tis like the cement which the peddler sells at the door; he makes broken crockery hold with it, but you can never buy of him a bit of the cement which will make it hold when he is gone.
Men who make themselves felt in the world avail themselves of a certain fate in their constitution, which they know how to use. But they never deeply interest us, unless they lift a corner of the curtain, or betray never so slightly their penetration of what is behind it. ‘Tis the charm of practical men, that outside of their practicality is certain poetry and play, as if they led the good horse Power by the bridle, and preferred to walk, though they can ride so fiercely. Bonaparte is intellectual, as well as Cæsar; and the best soldiers, sea captains, and railwaymen have a gentleness when off duty; a good-natured admission that there are illusions, and who shall say that he is not their sport? We stigmatize the cast-iron fellows, who cannot so detach themselves, as “dragon-ridden,” “thunder-stricken,” and fools of fate, with whatever powers endowed.
Since our tuition is through the gh emblems and indirections, it ’tis well to know that there is a method in it, a fixed scale, and rank above rank in the phantasms. We begin low with coarse masks and rise to the most subtle and beautiful. The red men told Columbus, “they had an herb which took away fatigue;” but he found the illusion of “arriving from the east at the Indies” more composing to his lofty spirit than any tobacco. Is not our faith in the impenetrability of matter more sedative than narcotics? You play with jackstraws, balls, bowls, horse and gun, estates, and politics; but there are finer games before you. Is not time a pretty toy? Life will show you masks that are worth all your carnivals. Yonder mountain must migrate into your mind. The fine star-dust and nebulous blur in Orion, “the portentous year of Mizar and Alcor,” must come down and be dealt with in your household thought. What if you shall come to discern that the play and playground of all this pompous history are radiations from yourself and that the sun borrows his beams? What terrible questions we are learning to ask! The former men believed in magic, by which temples, cities, and men were swallowed up, and all trace of them gone. We are coming on the secret of a magic which sweeps out of men’s minds all vestige of theism and beliefs which they and their fathers held and were framed upon.
There are deceptions of the senses, crimes of the passions, and the structural, beneficent illusions of sentiment and intellect. There is the illusion of love, which attributes to the beloved person all which that person shares with his or her family, sex, age, or condition, nay, with the human mind itself. ‘Tis these which the lover loves, and Anna Matilda gets the credit of them. As if one shut up always in a tower, with one window, through which the face of heaven and earth could be seen, should fancy that all the marvels he beheld belonged to that window. There is the illusion of time, which is very deep; who has disposed of it? or come to the conviction that what seems the succession of thought is only the distribution of wholes into causal series? The intellect sees that every atom carries the whole of Nature; that the mind opens to omnipotence; that, in the endless striving and ascents, the metamorphosis is entire, so that the soul doth not know itself in its act when that act is perfected. There is an illusion that shall deceive even the elect. There is an illusion that shall deceive even the performer of the miracle. Though he makes his body, he denies that he makes it. Though the world exists from thought, thought is daunted in presence of the world. One after the other we accept the mental laws, still resisting those which follow, which however must be accepted. But all our concessions only compel us to new profusion. And what avails it that science has come to treat space and time as simply forms of thought, and the material world as hypothetical, and withal our pretension of property and even of self-hood are fading with the rest, if, at last, even our thoughts are not finalities; but the incessant flowing and ascension reach these also, and each thought which yesterday was a finality, to-day is yielding to a larger generalization?
With such hazardous elements to work in, it ’tis no wonder if our estimates are loose and floating. We must work and affirm, but we do not guess the value of what we say or do. The cloud is now as big as your hand, and now it covers a county. That story of Thor, who was set to drain the drinking-horn in Asgard, and to wrestle with the old woman, and to run with the runner Lok, and presently found that he had been drinking up the sea, and wrestling with Time, and racing with Thought, describes us who are contending, amid these seeming trifles, with the supreme energies of Nature. We fancy we have fallen into bad company and squalid condition, low debts, shoe-bills, broken glass to pay for, pots to buy, butcher’s meat, sugar, milk, and coal. ‘Set me some great task, ye gods! and I will show my spirit.’ ‘Not so,’ says the good Heaven; ‘plod and plow, vamp your old coats and hats, weave a shoestring; great affairs and the best wine by and by.’ Well, ’tis all phantasm; and if we weave a yard of tape in all humility, and as well as we can, long hereafter we shall see it was no cotton tape at all, but some galaxy which we braided, and that the threads were Time and Nature.
We cannot write the order of the variable winds. How can we penetrate the law of our shifting moods and susceptibility? Yet they differ as all and nothing. Instead of the firmament of yesterday, which our eyes require, it is today an eggshell which coops us in; we cannot even see what or where our stars of destiny are. From day to day, the capital facts of human life are hidden from our eyes. Suddenly the mist rolls up and reveals them, and we think how much good time is gone, that might have been saved, had any hint of these things been shown. A sudden rise in the roadshows us the system of mountains, and all the summits, which have been just as near us all the year but quite out of mind. But these alternations are not without their order, and we are parties to our various fortune. If life seems like a succession of dreams, yet poetic justice is done in dreams also. The visions of good men are good; it is the undisciplined will that is whipped with bad thoughts and bad fortunes. When we break the laws, we lose our hold on the central reality. Like sick men in hospitals, we change only from bed to bed, from one folly to another; and it cannot signify much what becomes of such castaways,—wailing, stupid, comatose creatures,—lifted from bed to bed, from the nothing of life to the nothing of death.
In this kingdom of illusions we grope eagerly for stays and foundations. There is none but a strict and faithful dealing at home, and a severe barring out of all duplicity or illusion there. Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves, but deal in our privacy with the last honesty and truth. I look upon the simple and childish virtues of veracity and honesty as the root of all that is sublime in character. Speak as you think, be what you are, pay your debts of all kinds. I prefer to be owned as sound and solvent, and my word as good as my bond, and to be what cannot be skipped, or dissipated, or undermined, to all the éclat in the universe. This reality is the foundation of friendship, religion, poetry, and art. At the top or at the bottom of all illusions, I set the cheat which still leads us to work and live for appearances, in spite of our conviction, in all sane hours, that it is what we really are that avails with friends, with strangers, and with fate or fortune.
One would think from the talk of men, that riches and poverty were a great matter, and our civilization mainly respects it. But the Indians say that they do not think the white man with his brow of care, always toiling, afraid of heat and cold, and keeping within doors, has an advantage over them. The permanent interest of every man is, never to be in a false position, but to have the weight of Nature to back him in all that he does. Riches and poverty are a thick or thin costume, and our life—the life of all of us—is identical. For we transcend the circumstance continually and taste the real quality of existence; as in our employments, which only differ in the manipulations, but express the same laws; or in our thoughts, which wear no silks, and taste no ice-creams. We see God face to face every hour and know the savor of Nature.
The early Greek philosophers Heraclitus and Xenophanes measured their force on this problem of identity. Diogenes of Apollonia said, that unless the atoms were made of one stuff, they could never blend and act with one another. But the Hindoos, in their sacred writings, express the liveliest feeling, both of the essential identity, and of that illusion which they conceive variety to be “The notions, ‘I am,’ and ‘This is mine,’ which influence mankind, are but delusions of the mother of the world. Dispel, O Lord of all creatures! the conceit of knowledge which proceeds from ignorance.” And the beatitude of man they hold to lie in being freed from fascination.
The intellect is stimulated by the statement of truth in a trope, and the will by clothing the laws of life in illusions. But the unities of Truth and Right are not broken by the disguise. There need never be any confusion in these. In a crowded life of many parts and performers, on a stage of nations, or in the obscurest hamlet in Maine or California, the same elements offer the same choices to each newcomer, and, according to his election, he fixes his fortune in absolute Nature. It would be hard to put more mental and moral philosophy than the Persians have thrown into a sentence:—
“Fooled thou must be, though wisest of the wise:
Then be the fool of virtue, not of vice.”
There is no chance, and no anarchy, in the universe. All is system and gradation. Every god is there sitting in his sphere. The young mortal enters the hall of the firmament: there is he alone with them, they pouring on him benedictions and gifts, and beckoning him up to their thrones. On the instant, and incessantly, fall snowstorms of illusions. He fancies himself in a vast crowd which sways this way and that, and whose movement and doings he must obey: he fancies himself poor, orphaned, insignificant. The mad crowd drives hither and thither, now furiously commanding this thing to be done, now that. What is he that he should resist their will, and think or act for himself? Every moment, new changes, and new showers of deceptions, to baffle and distract him. And when, by and by, for an instant, the air clears, and the cloud lifts a little, there are the gods still sitting around him on their thrones,—they alone with him alone.