Friday, January 16, 2009

Wicked men and fools

We're reading "Kidnapped" together over our after dinner tea and coffee these days and I was really struck with this passage a few days ago:

A sea-bred boy would not have stayed a day on Earraid; ... even I, if I had sat down to think instead of raging at my fate, must have soon guessed the secret, and got free. It was no wonder that the fishers had not understood me. The wonder was rather that they had guessed my pitiful illusion, and taken the trouble to come back. I starved with cold and hunger on that island for close upon one hundred hours. But for the fishers, I might have left my bones there, in pure folly. And even as it was I had paid for it pretty dear, ...

I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both; and I believe they both get paid in the end; but the fools first.

--Robert Lewis Stevenson, "Kidnapped"

So often our troubles are pretty much of our own making. Obvious to the world - at first the fishermen laugh at David Balfour, unable to believe he doesn't know he can get off the island - but somehow uncomprehended by ourselves!

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