One day, the boy was preparing himself for a running competition in his small native village, himself and two other young boys to compete. A large crowd had congregated to witness the sporting spectacle and a wise old man, upon hearing of the little boy, had traveled far to bear witness also.
The race commenced, looking like a level heat at the finishing line, but sure enough the boy dug deep and called on his determination, strength and power… he took the winning line and was first. The crowd was ecstatic and cheered and waved at the boy. The wise man remained still and calm, expressing no sentiment. The little boy, however, felt proud and important.
A second race was called, and two new young, fit, challengers came forward, to run with the little boy. The race was started and sure enough the little boy came through and finished first once again. The crowd was ecstatic again and cheered and waved at the boy. The wise man remained still and calm, again expressing no sentiment. The little boy, however, felt proud and important.
“Another race, another race!” – pleaded the little boy.
The wise old man stepped forward and presented the little boy with two new challengers, an elderly frail lady and a blind man. “What is this?” – quizzed the little boy. “This is no race.” – he exclaimed.
“Race!” – said the wise man. The race was started and the boy was the only finisher, the other two challengers left standing at the starting line. The little boy was ecstatic, he raised his arms in delight. The crowd, however, was silent showing no sentiment toward the little boy.
“What has happened? Why don’t the people join in my success?” – he asked the wise old man.
“Race again”, replied the wise man, “this time, finish together, all three of you, finish together.” – continued the wise man.
The little boy thought a little, stood in the middle of the blind man and the frail old lady, and then took the two challengers by the hand. The race began and the little boy walked slowly, ever so slowly, to the finishing line and crossed it. The crowd were ecstatic and cheered and waved at the boy. The wise man smiled, gently nodding his head. The little boy felt proud and important.
“Old man, I don’t understand! Who are the crowd cheering for? Which one of us three?” – asked the little boy.
The wise old man looked into the little boy’s eyes, placing his hands on the boy’s shoulders, and replied softly, “Little boy, for this race you have won much more than in any race you have ever ran before, and for this race the crowd cheer not for any winner!”
By Darren Edwards