Then a lawyer said, "But what of our Laws, master? "
And he answered:
You delight in laying down laws,
Yet you delight more in breaking them.
Like children playing by the ocean who build sand-towers
with constancy and then destroy them with
But while you build your sand-towers the ocean brings
more sand to the shore,
And when you destroy them, the ocean laughs with
Verily the ocean laughs always with the innocent.
But what of those to whom life is not an ocean, and
man-made laws are not sand-towers,
But to whom life is a rock, and the law a chisel with
which they would carve it in their own likeness?
What of the cripple who hates dancers?
What of the ox who loves his yoke and deems the elk
and deer of the forest stray and vagrant things?
What of the old serpent who cannot shed his skin, and
calls all others naked and shameless?
And of him who comes early to the wedding-feast, and
when over-fed and tired goes his way saying that all
feasts are violation and all feasters law-breakers?
What shall I say of these save that they too stand in the
sunlight, but with their backs to the sun?
They see only their shadows, and their shadows are
And what is the sun to them but a caster of shadows?
And what is it to acknowledge the laws but to stoop
down and trace their shadows upon the earth?
But you who walk facing the sun, what images drawn
on the earth can hold you?
You who travel with the wind, what weathervane shall
direct your course?
What man's law shall bind you if you break your yoke
but upon no man's prison door?
What laws shall you fear if you dance but stumble
against no man's iron chains?
And who is he that shall bring you to judgment if you
tear off your garment yet leave it in no man's path?
People of Orphalese, you can muffle the drum, and you
can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall
command the skylark not to sing ?
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