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| The following is a story illuminating
the process of Apocatastasis in the material and the immaterial worlds.
It is a story, one of many, in the ancient Persian Folktale, The Three Princes
One day, the three Princes of Serendip leave their
father, the King, to search for glory and treasures that will honor their
father and gain his favor. They do not travel as Princes and, thus, they
find much hardship and human suffering along the way. Also, too, they
discover, quite unexpectedly, great good in the most unlikely of situations,
places, and people. To commemorate finding valuable and agreeable things
not specifically sought, the three Princes of Serendip coin a word called
There is another word, an ancient word, used by the
Princes to describe the power to transform the tragedies of life by focusing
on the good hidden within them. It is told that one day the Princes came
upon a great river with rushing, roaring waters. Beside the river a man
in fine robes sat weeping and cursing the gods.
"O worthy one," spoke the eldest of the brothers,
"what think ye the gods have brought upon thy worthy head?"
"Calamity and catastrophe," wailed the man
loudly, cursing the evil that has befallen him.
"Tell us your story," begged the second brother
as they gather around the sobbing man.
"Indeed, for perhaps we may be of service to you,"
announced the youngest of the three.
"None can help me," the man moaned in reply,
staring sadly at the rushing river. "For there lies my fortune and
my future. I am a merchant and I have gathered many fine things from all
the known kingdoms of the world. There I built my palace, beside the banks
of the river. Never has the river, in even ancient memory, run over the
bank where I built my palace and stored my treasures. But now, behold.
It has stolen all my most precious things." Again the merchant began
to wail loudly.
The Princes gazed at one another and in unison they
joyfully raised their voices to cry: "Apocatastasis!"
Bewildered, the merchant demanded the meaning of such a reaction to his sad tale.
"It is a magical and mystical word," the oldest
brother told him, smiling broadly at the merchant.
"It means," added the second brother, whose
smile was even wider, "that if you search for the good in this seeming
misfortune you will find greater fortune."
"We leave you then with joy in our hearts,"
the youngest brother announced, his smile the widest of all, "for
with this tragedy we know you have been blessed."
With that, the brothers rode away, leaving the merchant
to ponder on their words.
Following the servant, the Princes came to a great
palace built on a high cliff above the river. There, the merchant greeted
them, smiling so broadly his teeth sparkle brightly in the sun. "Welcome
my friends!" he hailed them, "and thanks be to the gods for your
return. I have much to tell you and much for which to thank you. First,
please, rest and prepare for the evening meal, at which you shall be my
most honored guests."|
"I looked above the river. There was a promontory
high above it I had not considered this spot before as it was somewhat
difficult to reach, but as I gazed upon it I allowed my heart to lift.
I realized the river was telling me a more magnificent view of its span
would bring me greater joy than sitting along its banks. ´Apocatastasis!´
I shouted aloud, and joy filled my heart, even though I had lost all of
my treasures and most of my wealth.
"I sent my servants up the mountain to mark out
the foundations for the palace I would someday build. My servants, in
working the earth, discovered a field of priceless jewels. ´Apocatastasis!´
I cried out once again when they brought this news to me.
"With the wealth brought to me by the river, I
built a grander palace than any I could have imagined. I invited all that
I knew from all the Kingdoms I had traveled to come and partake of the
generous hospitality I could now afford.
"My friends have come and they bring treasures
that fill my many room; though the company they bring is more precious
than these gifts. I feel blessed beyond measure, and the youthful zest
of my youth has been returned to me. My friends, my family, my good health
- these are my greatest treasures. From my misfortune has, indeed, flowed
the greatest good."
Together, the merchant and the Princes raised their wine and in unison toasted as one: "APOCATASTASIS!"
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All material © by Pamela Chilton 2001