Fate vs. Mind
- Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Macedonia
- Folk Tale
Once upon at time on a high mountain somewhere in Macedonia, Fate and Mind crossed paths. As is true of most fictional, supernatural beings, they were proud and stubborn, and so they began to argue about who was more important. Mind insisted that if man did not have a mind, he could not become rich. Fate laughed and retorted that even if man had a mind, man could not become rich without fate.
As the supernatural beings continued this hazy argument, an unsuspecting shepherd passed by. Fate, tired of the theoretical nature of the argument, suggested that they conduct an experiment with the unsuspecting shepherd. "Here you will see," said Fate, "I will make this poor, unsuspecting shepherd rich. I will make him the son-in-law of a king!" Fate then proceeded to drop a huge bag of money into the poor, unsuspecting shepherd's path.
Thrilled with his good fortune, the poor, unsuspecting, and not-so-bright shepherd ran off to the big city and spent all of the money on food and wine and useless trinkets. Having observed the whole ridiculous scene, Mind turned to Fate and declared, "See, I told you so. Without a mind, man cannot be rich." But Fate was a persistent supernatural being and, in spite of the obvious setback, went ahead and made the poor, unsuspecting, and not-so-bright shepherd the son-in-law of the king. The red carpet was rolled out and wedding bells were heard all over the kingdom.
After only one year of marriage, the poor, unsuspecting, not-so-bright, and rather simple shepherd started thinking about his old job and he was sad. He missed his sheep. His beautiful princess bride tried to cheer him up, but she was always unsuccessful. In a moment of despair, the beautiful princess confessed the news to her father, the king, that her husband was eternally unhappy. The king was outraged and put in an order for the poor, unsuspecting, not-so-bright, and rather simple shepherd to be hanged.
Fate and Mind were, of course, observing all of these goings-on, and when Fate realized that due to his meddling the poor, unsuspecting, not-so-bright, and rather simple shepherd was about to be hanged—well, he felt a wee bit of compassion. Not that compassion is something that supernatural beings are known to feel, but after all, he was to blame for the poor fellow's plight. So Fate turned to Mind and politely asked for his assistance.
Mind, being a rational supernatural being, concluded that he should, at this point in the sordid tale, intervene. So Mind, using his supernatural capabilities, invaded the thoughts of the poor, unsuspecting, not-so-bright, and rather simple shepherd, sending him, without delay, to discuss this life-threatening matter with the king.
Using the well-argued psychic suggestions of Mind, the poor, unsuspecting, not-so-bright, and rather simple shepherd explained to the king that he was sad because he missed his family and his sheep, but that he could never leave because he loved the beautiful princess very, very, very much and could not bear to be parted from her. The king, recognizing the clever, well-argued, and rational point of view, somehow being articulated by the poor, unsuspecting, not so bright, and rather simple shepherd, decided that maybe there was more to the story and that he should forgive him. And so the hanging was called off.
Mind, quite pleased with himself, turned to Fate and said, "See my friend, fate may be essential for man to prosper, but good fortune is of no value to him (and actually may be a bit hazardous) without a mind." Fate agreed and the supernatural beings ended their argument, deciding that for man to be happy, he needs both a strong mind and the good fortune that fate could bestow upon him.