An Irish limerick from a Scottish lover
Enough

The Greatest In the Kingdom - Book One

A young man who lived in the country was weary of helping his father work on the family farm. One day he decided to take a journey to seek advice from the greatest one in the kingdom on how he himself could become great. He asked his mother “Who is the greatest in the kingdom?” The mother wisely replied, “That is a question for you to ask on your journey.” The young man said “But who will I ask?” The mother again wisely replied, “Ask everyone and no one.” The young man collected his travelling supplies, kissed his mother and left on his journey for he was accustomed to her speaking in riddles.


A few miles down the path, the young man saw a bird in a tree singing the most beautiful song he had ever heard. The young man strayed from the path and walked to the tree the bird was in and said, “Sister Bird, are you the greatest in the kingdom?” Sister Bird replied:

“I have seen many, great and small
In my flights through the air.
Because I serve them all
With the song from my heart,
I am one.”

The young man, perplexed with more riddles asked, “But who is the greatest in the kingdom?” Sister Bird replied, “You should ask the Great Oak of the Forest, he has lived hundreds of years and will surely know the answer.”

The young man thanked the beautiful bird and made his way through the forest to a large meadow where the Great Oak of the Forest stood. The young man stood in front of the old tree and asked, “Brother Oak, are you the greatest in the kingdom?” Brother Oak bowed his branches in greeting to the young man and said: ”

“I have seen many, great and small
In my many years in this meadow.
Because I serve them all
With the shade from my branches,
I am one.”

A little tired of the many riddles he had heard today, the young man impatiently asked,”But Brother Oak, who is the greatest in the kingdom?” Brother Oak replied, “To find your answer, go ask the Swift River in the valley, for she has seen much more than I in her miles and miles of travel.”

So the young man said his goodbyes to the great oak and set off to find the Swift River to find the answer to this perplexing question. A few more miles down the path, he came to the banks of the mighty river. The young man stepped onto a dock on the bank of the river and asked, “Sister River, are you the greatest in the Kingdom?” Sister River swirled around the dock and answered:

“I have seen many, great and small
In my many travels through the valleys.
Because I serve them all
With the water inside my banks,
I am one.”

Once again the young man asked, “But Sister River, who is the greatest in the kingdom?” Sister River replied, “To find your answer, follow my path to the vast ocean, he knows much more than I, for he stretches across the world.”

So the young man boarded a boat and made his way down the Swift River. After a day and a night, the young man made it to the shores of the vast ocean. He got out of the boat and stood on the beach and asked, “Brother Ocean, are you the greatest in the kingdom?” Brother Ocean crashed his waves upon the beach and said:

“I have seen many, great and small
Along my shores both far and near.
Because I serve them all
With the bounty from my depths,
I am one.”

The young man looked at the giant waves and asked cautiously, “But Brother Ocean, then who is the greatest in the kingdom?” Brother Ocean replied, “You will find the answer to your question on the Island of High Mountains, you must climb the highest peak and ask the Wise Heavens, they will know the answer.”

So the young man got back in his boat and put up the sail to make his way to the Island of High Mountains. When he reached the Island after two days and two nights, he climbed the highest peak and looked up to the Heavens and asked, “Wise Heavens, are you the greatest in the Kingdom?” The Wise Heavens looked down and said:

“I have seen many, great and small
Under my blanket of stars.
Because I serve them all
With the sun and the rain,
I am one.”

The young man, tired from his journey screamed at the top of his lungs, “Tell me who is the greatest in the Kingdom?” The Wise Heavens answered in the stillness. “You have journeyed far and wide and asked your question of the bird, the tree, the river, the ocean and now the heavens. The answer to your question is within you.” And with that, the Wise Heavens were silent.

The young man contemplated all he had heard while he journeyed home and realized he did have his answer. When he finally made it back to his home in the country, his mother greeted him and asked, “Did you find the greatest one in the kingdom?” The young man thought carefully and answered:

“I saw many, great and small
On my journey for truth.
Because each serves the other
With uniqueness and harmony,
They are one.”

The wise mother smiled and gave the young man a meal of hearty soup and fresh bread after which the young man cleaned up his plate, kissed his mother and joyfully went to help his father in the field.

Pops 2011

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