The Greatest Warrior.
There was a certain soldier who gained popularity by winning every fight he had. In battle, he killed 10 times more people than others in his regiment. One day he came up against an old man, who was drinking in a public house. The old man had done nothing to the soldier, but merely chuckled silently as the soldier boasted of his victories. The soldier noticed and challenged him to a fight. So they went outside to fight. The soldier launched at the old man, who merely stepped out of his way. Getting up from the ground, the soldier took a stance and went to strike the man who dodged the blow, then the next and the next. Infuriated, the soldier grabbed the man’s wrist and went to wrestle him, but the old man moved his wrist in the direction the soldier was moving and slipped the grasp. Now the soldier was even angrier and got three other men to hold him whilst he punched him until he was black and blue.
“I see it takes four men to beat me, not one,” said the old man and in that moment, everyone around heard and the soldier was defeated. Taking the matter to heart, the soldier realized he had indeed been beaten and apologized profusely to the old man.
“How did you become a mighty warrior?” the soldier asked.
“I learnt to fight as a young man and won many tournaments. Unsatisfied, I went to find the mightiest fighter and beat him, but still I was not satisfied. So one day, I asked the sage where I could find the victory that would satisfy my thirst. He told me to go up into the hills, find the oldest tree and there I would find him. Once I defeated him, I was to return. So I went, and now I tell you the same. Go there and fight the warrior by the oldest tree in the hills, and do not return until he is defeated.”
So the soldier went. He traveled for many days until he found the oldest tree in the hills. Once he found it, he saw no one. From the hilltop, he viewed the countryside, but no one was nearby. Not wanting to appear stupid, he realised he needed to stay a while, so everyone would think he had this amazing victory, then he could return. So he sat under the tree. As he looked out, he saw that nearby was a natural pond and beside it a small, wooden post with a sign. Venturing over to it, he read the little sign which read, “The Mighty Warrior.” The soldier looked at the pond, splashed the water, walked in it, but found no one. Feeling confused, he sat beside the pond and as the water settled, he saw his reflection. He thought for a while and said to himself, “How can I fight a reflection? Furthermore, how can I fight myself?” Not wanting to appear stupid, he sat back down and thought about what he would say to people to explain how he won the fight. As he did so, he realized he could not. An answer to his question eluded him and at this point he admitted defeat. The pond had won the battle, for he could not fight it, nor defeat his own reflection. Without a single blow, the water had defeated him. So, he resolved to go back and find the old man and tell him. Upon his return from the hills, the soldier eventually found the old man.
“What did you find?” quizzed the man.
“Only water and my own reflection,” replied the soldier. “I had no fight, for you cannot fight water or yourself!”
“On the contrary,” said the old man, “Your greatest foe is yourself and you could not win, therefore you have defeated your own self. Thus, you have won the fight to be the greatest warrior and you never struck one blow.”
The soldier became silent. Slowly, his frown became a smile and the soldier went away content.
(Based upon an old Chinese proverb.)