The First Act of Zen

1. As the Mithran walked down the road he came to a bird that was lying along the side. He stopped for a moment to speak with the bird but could not tell if it was alive or dead. 2. The wind began to blow softly and the left wing of the bird lifted as the Mithran saw the blue of the sky. 3. ‘What pretty wings,’ he told the bird as it looked up at him and blinked. ‘I am not like other birds,’ it told him. 4. ‘Why are you here?’ the Mithran asked. ‘I have been injured,’ it replied. ‘That is why I have come to the side of the road. No one will help me,’ it said. 5. So the Mithran ran away at once and began to gather all the wood he could find for which to make a bed for the bird to lie on. When he was finished he returned hoping that the bird was still there. 6. ‘Are you still there?’ he called to the side of the road. ‘Yes, I am still here,’ the bird replied. ‘Where off did you go?’ the bird asked. 7. ‘I went to gather wood for which to build you a bed that you can rest upon. It should help greatly to alleviate some of your sufferings as it is so very hot in this desert.’ 8. ‘Yes,’ the bird replied. ‘That should be very nice,’ it said. 9. As the Mithran came closer to lift the bird onto his bed, he told the bird not to him. ‘I will bite you,’ the bird told him. ‘I shall eat out your eyes and gouge upon you flesh. I shall eat all of you until there is nothing that is left.’ 10. The Mithran thought for a moment and decided the risk. He moved still closer and lifted the bird quickly and carefully onto it’s bed. 11. ‘There,’ the Mithran told the bird, raising some cloth for which to shield the eyes of the bird from the sun. ‘Now you may rest much more comfortably.’ 12. ‘I am thirsty,’ said the bird. 13. ‘I have no cup from which you can drink,’ the Mithran replied. ‘I do not have any water. I can only give you shade,’ he told bird while dragging the bed off in the opposite direction he had been going. 14. ‘Where are you taking me,’ the bird asked him. ‘I am taking you up the road,’ the Mithran replied. ‘There is a village. They will have a cup from which you can drink.’ 15. The Mithran looked back at saw that the bird was not breathing as heavy as it had been in the sun and felt well. 16. ‘We are all the same,’ the bird told him. ‘We are all animals.’ 17. ‘Breathe easy,’ the Mithran told him. ‘Rest.’ He turned back to see the bird stretch out it’s wings. They fluttered softly and the Mithran thought the bird was at rest. The bird stretched out completely and then died. 18. This is the word of the Lord.