Canto 39 – the Wisdom of Solomon
The Palace of One Thousand Years was empty save for five people. Ged Aero was about to teach his first official class. With him were three students, Junior Aero, Sara Smith, and the quiet Gaijinese boy of ten known as Shu Kwai. Junior and Sara wore only silken loin cloths. Shu Kwai, in the Gaijinese tradition, would wear no clothing he had not earned. His light orange skin was bare to the single sun, the Old Man. The three students were kneeling on the practice grounds. On a bench three hundred feet away sat Dr. Naylund Smith, watching intently.
“I may disappoint you three,” said Ged softly. He pulled the brim of his fedora down to completely shield his eyes from the bright sun. His ceremonial robes flapped slightly in the breeze. It was the unconscious pose of the hunter… or perhaps the wary predator. “I have thought a lot about what to teach you this day, but I haven’t a clue.”
Shu Kwai had not spoken a word since his parents had brought him to the palace. Now he raised his brown eyes to Ged and looked at the master without changing his solemn expression. “Aero-sensei, you are the White Spider. Anything you say is destiny and probably the Word of God.”
Ged laughed softly. “No pressure here, huh?”
Junior and Sara looked at each other and grinned. Shu Kwai focused like a laser on Ged’s every word. The grim boy did not smile or move a single face muscle.
“Well, here goes… My mother back on Questor used to read from the Christian Bible to Ham and me. We took many important lessons from it. I know you three probably have not studied it, or even heard of it, but it was the greatest book ever written on the planet Earth.”
Sarah nodded. The two boys showed no signs of recognition. Ged knew he would have to have a sharp memory to carry this off.
“The secret, I think lies in wisdom and discipline. These are two of the qualities that a wise king named Solomon used as major themes in his book of Proverbs. In Chapter 3 he said about discipline “the discipline of Jehovah, O my son, do not reject and do not abhor his reproof, because the one whom Jehovah loves he reproves, even as a father does a son in whom he finds pleasure.”
“I find pleasure in having the three of you as my students. I will provide not only facts for you to learn, but discipline as well. If I correct you, it is because I know a better way and it shows evidence only of my love and respect for you.”
“Who is Jehovah?” asked Junior.
“According to the Bible my mother read, that was the name of the one God, the creator of the universe.”
“What if we believe in the Tao?” asked Shu Kwai.
“I will try to teach you better, but I will not argue with what you believe. All I am saying, students, is that if I must offer discipline, it will be only loving reproof.”
“What will you say about wisdom?” asked Sara.
“Solomon said about wisdom… “Happy is the man who has found wisdom and the man that gets discernment, for having it is better than having silver as gain and having it as produce is better than gold itself. It is more precious than corals and all other delights of yours cannot be made equal to it.”
“What wisdom will you teach us, Sensei?” asked Sara.
“I don’t know everything yet. I am supposed to teach you about what I already know, and what I am learning about being a Psion. You three all have the powers of a Psion?”
“Junior and I are both telepaths,” said Sara, “but he can talk to machines and computers, while I’m a healer.”
“I’m a telekinetic and a telepath,” said Shu Kwai. “I nearly burned the house down in the night when I was dreaming. I threw a candle across the room and made logs fly out of the burning fireplace.”
“How interesting!” said Ged with a fixed smile. “You are all mind-readers, and I am not. I am a morph. I’m a shape-changer.”
“The best that ever lived, I heard,” said Shu Kwai. “My father said no shape-changer ever changed size before as you did in the arena against the Black Spider.”
“My father says you came to save us,” said Sara. “He said you have the discipline and the morality it takes to help us avoid becoming a monster from our Psion powers.”
“I will do what I can, but as I said, I really have no idea how to teach you.”
Naylund Smith came walking over to them clapping his hands. “That is one of the finest lessons I have ever heard, honored Ged-dono. Wisdom and discipline! This whole planet needs that. If they all had it, perhaps the plague of bandits and black spiders would end.”
“I hope I don’t let you all down.”
“You cannot,” assured Dr. Smith. “The boy is right. You are destiny.”