The Book I’d Like to Write

January 10, 2016 at 2:14 pm 2 comments

Reading Somerset Maugham’s book on his life and craft, The Summing Up, I was intrigued by a story he quoted:

A Young King of the east, anxious to rule his country justly, sent for his sages and ordered them to gather the wisdom of the world so that he might learn how best to conduct himself.

After 30 years they returned with a string of camels laden with 5000 books. Here, they told him, is collected everything that wise men have learnt of the history and destiny of humanity. But the king was too busy with affairs of state to read 5000 books, so he ordered them to condense the knowledge.

Fifteen years later they returned with 500 books which they told the King contained all the wisdom of the world. But still there were too many to read and again he sent them away.

Ten more years passed and they returned with just 50 books. By now the king was old and tired and he said that even this amount was too much to consider. Go and condense this knowledge into one volume which would give me the epitome of human knowledge so that at long last I can learn what is most important for me to know.

Five years later they returned. By now these were old men who laid the result of their labours into the King’s hands. But now the King was also old and dying, and he did not have the strength to even read this one book.

How I would love to have this book, but I have never been able to find it. So I thought this would be a great book to write. Of course, I probably never will, I don’t think I have the ability. But I did conceive of a book like this once, and it was called The Book That Fell From The Sky. I never wrote it, and eventually decided to use the title for this blog – The Blog that Fell From The Sky.

Maybe one day I’ll try it again.

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Entry filed under: Ancient wisdom, Thoughts. Tags: , , , .

A SPIRITUAL ALMANAC – JANUARY: SILENCE The Book I’d Like To Write – Part 2

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kim In Kook  |  April 13, 2017 at 8:57 am

    tks for your kind quote intriqued story from the “summing up”.
    Can you let me know at what chapter that story from that book comes out among the 77 chapters.

    I read the summing up from cover to cover in my youth. However I can not locate your quoted story though I well remember it well.

    Best regards

    Kim

    Reply
    • 2. markforstater  |  April 22, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Kim

      It is in Chapter 66 (page 248 of my edition)’

      regards

      Mark

      Reply

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The Blog That Fell From The Sky

Reflections on an age of anxiety.

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