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A Story

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TANSTAAFL

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There was once a man, whose name is unimportant. The man knew many things, but he did not know everything, and it distressed him that there were things he did not know.

After many years of research into the matter, he discovered a forgotten tome of lore. Within its pages, it described the Door of All Knowledge. After going through the Door, the man would know everything.

So he set off to find the Door. After many false starts and wrong turns, he found the Path that lead to the Door. The path was long and arduous, but he eventually came to the Door.

In front of the Door was an old man holding a staff, blocking him from entering. Each time he tried to go around him, the old man would move to block him.

"Why do you block me, old man?" he asked.

"Because you wish to open the door." the old man replied.

"Yes, I want to go through the door, so I need to open it." said the man.

"I cannot allow you to open the door." admonished the old man.

"Why not?" he asked.

"You do not have the Key." the old man stated.

"Where is the Key?" he inquired, panicking. He had come a long way just to get stopped at this point.

"Somewhere on the Path."

The man then backtracked along the path, and looked for the Key. He could not find it, no matter how hard he looked. Eventually, he gave up, and went back to the Door. The old man stood there still.

"I have looked all over for the key, old man. Still I cannot find it." he said.

"That is because the Key is not something that you can find."

"But that makes no sense!" the man cried angrily. "I found the Path, and I found the Door! Surely, I can find the Key!"

With that, he stalked off, furious. He vowed to find the Key or die in the search. He looked for many months, and still he did not find the Key.

After a time, his anger mellowed, and he took to thinking about what the old man had told him.

'He blocked me because I did not have the Key, and told me that the Key lie somewhere on this Path.' he thought.

Something started to nag at him. Then the full realization hit him, and he rushed back to the old man at the Door.

"The door isn't locked!" he exclaimed.

"Correct." the old man said as he stepped to one side.

The man then moved in front of the door. He reached out his hand to turn the knob. Then he paused.

For the first time, the old man spoke of his own volition, "You hesitate."

"Yes," replied the man.

"You have struggled for a very long time to get here, and now, at the moment you have what you want within your grasp, you do not take it."

He turned to face the old man and asked "Have you opened the door?"

"No. I had no need to." the old man replied.

"But by walking through this Door, you would have all knowledge!" the man exclaimed.

"True. And what good would that do me?"

The man had no answer.



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