Wednesday 20 April 2022

Unexpected Encounter


It was a long time ago, I was young, I was out travelling like some students do, discovering the world and all that.

It was in the mountains. Mount Everest I think, or was it the Pair O'knees? No ... Ben Nevis, that was the name of the hotel keeper. Or the mountain ... or ...

Anyway, I met this hermit. A man who lives alone in the middle of nowhere eating berries and locusts ... or is it licorice? Something beginning with L anyway. Linguine? No that's not it.

He was naked in a barrel. He called me and said, "Wisdom is acquired and not found!"

I nodded and said nothing. I was tired so I sat down on the ground whilst he dried himself up and wrapped his scrawny skeletal body in a toga type outfit. Maybe it was in Italy ... do they have mountains in Italy?

He said, "Imagine, young man, you are walking on a beach and you see footprints. One set of feet, the left ones, are bare, whilst the others, the right, distinctly show that the foot is wearing a sandal. What would you deduce from that?"

"I guess the person has lost one of his sandals," I replied.

"No necessarily so, my not-so-wise friend" he smiled, "it could be that the person has just found a sandal, not lost one!"

I nodded again and said nothing.

"Let us say," continued the toga-wearing hermit, "that later on you find a sandal; what would you deduce from that?"

"I guess it is the sandal that the wearer lost," I said.

"Again, not necessarily so," he chuckled, "it could be that the walker got fed up limping with one bare foot and one with a sandal, so he threw the sandal he found away!"  

After a few moments' silence he spoke again.

"We often deduce things from limited information," he said, "and our deductions are based on our attitude to life. You said the man had lost a sandal; I said he had found one. You were negative in your deduction. You assumed the sandal was the one that was lost, I said it was the one he had found and he threw it away."

I smiled. He had a point. I was somewhat negative in my thinking; but life tends to make you so sometimes.

He continued, "A man in the sea is always wet. A wet man on the beach was not necessarily in the sea!"

Another good point, I thought. It could be raining, or he got wet by some other way.

"A river never flows up the mountain," he added after a pause.

I decided it was time to go. I got up, smiled and waved him goodbye. 

"Remember," he said as he waved back, "the dogs in the desert run much faster because the trees are further apart!"

And the moral of this story:

If you ever walk your dog in the desert never use one of those extendable/retractable leads. They'll never be long enough.


  1. HaHa! I'm afraid l would have legged it,
    if l'd have found him in the middle of
    nowhere, eating berries and locusts..
    But! Then! I would 'never' have been in
    the middle of nowhere..! I'm 'always' in
    the middle of somewhere..! :). they have mountains in Italy? 1000's
    Most are in the Apennine Range, also called
    the Appennino, series of mountain ranges
    bordered by narrow coastlands that form the
    physical backbone of peninsular Italy...!
    There even 10 mountains in my home of Sicily,
    one of which..Mt Etna..l was born under, in a
    little place called Letojanni..!
    PS..The moral of my story is...
    "Willie it's Wednesday, nearly 11 o'clock, time
    for the ladies coffee morning". Bless! :O).
    ☕ 🍰 ☕ 🍰 ☕ 🍰 ☕ 🍰 ☕ 🍰 ☕ 🍰 ☕

    1. Very brave to live near Mt Etna. It's a volcano you know.

      Enjoy your morning coffee, Willie. God bless always.

  2. HeHe! Mia Mama..she say...when l was born..
    6.00am Sunday 21st September..Mt Etna
    erupted..How true that not know! :).

  3. Replies
    1. They're a couple of mountains somewhere in Europe. You can see them clearly when lying on your back on the ground and your legs bent towards you.

      God bless, Tom.

  4. In addition to Mt. Etna and Apennine range, mentioned by Willie, we also have Alps in Italy, where there's the second-most prominent mountain in Europe.
    That man used to eat something beginning with "L" locusts, licorice, or linguine :-))) .... the latter is my favourite!
    I know British people know that type of pasta. Its name is anglicized as "linguini".

    Have a nice Wednesday!

    1. Linguine and other pastas have been anglicised over here. Very popular, as well as a variety of pizzas.

      Best wishes, Giorgio. God bless.

  5. Dearest Victor,
    Haha, you had a great encounter and it must have been in Italy. We lived on the foothills of the Dolomites, just out of the Alps.
    But so true that we can weigh everything in both ways.
    We once encountered a naked man living in a kind of overhanging rock cave, high on top of the mountains in Indonesia. We passed him every morning after six when we drove up with our driver to work in the thousands of mushroom houses.
    Turned out he was on foot from the western part of the Island of Java. Nobody knew his name or his fate but the farmers brought him food and water or tea. We did bring him some pants and undershirts next day as we knew it gets cold there high in the mountains, up to freezing. The next day driving up, he laid there, wearing Pieter's pants and undershirt... It made us smile, at least some comfort apart from the plastic he used to shield himself from the elements.
    We all are so RICH!

    1. Amazing how some people can live in solitude up in a mountain and all alone. It goes back years. I believe Diogenes was such a person.

      It was good of you to help the hermit you met.

      God bless, Mariette.

  6. Okay, this one its good, lots of fun but not sure of walking the dog in the desert nor the sandal lOL
    ;-) ;-)

    1. I agree Jack. I would not walk a dog in the desert with sandals. Can you imagine having to buy four sandals to fit the dog's feet?

      God bless.

  7. I would never walk in a desert never mind taking a dog. I remember walking barefoot back in the 70s, I could have used some sandals. :)

    1. At what point does a wide beach becomes a desert? When it is one mile from the sea? Two miles? More? And is it OK to wear socks with sandals? These existential questions have often crossed my mind. I easily forget them with a Guinness or three.

      God bless, Bill.

  8. Having lived in the Arizona desert many years, I figure the dog was running to avoid burning his paws.
    I enjoyed this hermit's lesson! It reminds me of a line from Pentimento: "... the old conception, replaced by a later choice, is a way of seeing, and then seeing again."

    1. When we view something, or some event, at a later time we often change our minds as to how we originally thought of the matter. A wise hermit indeed. Reminds me of when I've been through the desert on a horse with no name ... actually he was named Sandy. Sandy Beech!

      God bless, Mevely.

  9. Walking in the desert holds no appeal. We lived in Victorville, CA, in the Mojave Desert.

    1. Amazing extremes of temperature sometimes in deserts.

      God bless, Susan.

  10. Every day is a good day to walk the dog, but not in the desert.

    1. Are there desert dogs, I wonder? Or cats?

      God bless, Mimi.

  11. There are always lessons to be learnt when meeting people who have different points of view.

    1. Good point, River. Very good point. We can always learn from someone else if we keep an open mind.

      God bless you.

  12. I have to admit, I would have looked at this as having lost a sandal, too, Victor. Are we that negative?

    1. I guess many would have thought the sandal was lost. Human nature I suppose. The hermit sure put me right!

      God bless, Martha.

  13. I walked all over Ben Nevis one day, and he didn't complain. Stout fellow.

    1. Good one, David. I wish I'd thought of that. I'm jealous now.

      God bless always.



God bless you.