Last year, towards the end, I wrote about the concept of friendship. After a conversation with a friend yesterday, an old story from my childhood came to mind, making me reconsider the notion of friendship mentioned in that article.
According to this story, a decree from the sultan was sent to a wise man, stating that his students were exempt from taxes and military service to focus solely on learning. Many people started claiming to be the disciples of the wise man to avoid taxes and military service. As their numbers grew, the financial and military order of the region became disrupted. Eventually, the sultan had to ask the wise man for a list of his disciples.
The wise man set up a tent in the town square and announced, “Those who are affiliated with us and are my students should gather here.” Everyone claiming to be a student rushed to fill the square. The wise man declared, “Comrades, today I have been ordered to sacrifice my students. Anyone willing to sacrifice their life and property for me, enter the tent.” Holding a sharp knife, he waited at the tent’s entrance. As blood started flowing out of the tent, those who witnessed it were terrified and began to flee. The square was emptied.
Later, the wise man came out and said, “We understood that we only had two students. Everyone else should fulfill their debt to the state by paying taxes and serving in the military.” He reported the situation to the sultan.
This story, inherently, represents an extreme form of loyalty. My thoughts on the concept of friendship, as expressed in the story, remain the same.
Throughout my life, I’ve usually found only one of these people, and, like love, they don’t usually coincide. Finding such a person is rare, so when you do find one, it’s essential to appreciate them. Regardless of whether it’s one-sided or mutual, the outcome remains the same: Friends are like passengers passing through your life. But one always stays with you: that is your true friend.
Last night, I understood once again that the only true friend in my life is right by my side. It’s comforting to know that I’m not alone on the path I’ve taken.