The young man called Fact was observing ants in a jar when the old woman called Wisdom approached him. He was inclined to ignore her; after all she was old and carried a scroll in her hand. But she came towards him and expected attention so he smiled and pointing to the scroll said, “Woman, is this not old? Cannot my devices, books and learning improve on what you carry?”
“You have not seen what I carry and you presume much from what little learning you have. Many seek me and find I have much that they can learn,” said Wisdom quietly.
Fact spoke with his youthful authority, “Teach me something new, then. If you can! What is in that scroll?”
“Why, sir, everything is in the scroll, for it is the Sacred Canopy which covered those who came before you and sought Wisdom as well as knowledge.”
“Why, the sky looks quite gloomy and may send rain! Can I then use your scroll to keep me dry?” said Fact mockingly.
“See!” The old woman called Wisdom knelt at his feet and began to unroll the scroll. As it began to uncurl Fact saw blueness like a clear sky. Although it lay at his feet, once unrolled, he felt that he was looking up, not down. A brilliant moon gazed down at him and seemed to enlarge as it if would fill the scroll. No that was wrong! Fact saw that the scroll was expanding before him. He felt that if he should step forward he would fall into that blue sky and be lost in his plunge upwards. Fact felt dizzy for the world he saw at his feet was not a world of certainty, neither did it make sense, and it grew larger by the moment to fill his world. Fact felt small and insignificant and very, very dizzy. Wisdom had opened a scroll, which if he allowed it, would speak of such things as Fact knew nothing. It told him of beauty, of love, of dreams, of worlds within worlds, of trust and faithfulness, of death and betrayal, and all the time, in its vastness, it whispered Wisdom’s name.
Something fell from his head, like a hat, and plunged upwards into the depths until it could no longer be seen. “What was that?” cried Fact, “What have I lost?”
Wisdom rolled up the scroll and tied it again. She smiled as she turned to leave. “Why, Fact, you have lost wonder and to find it again you must first open the Sacred Canopy above you and gaze up into it without judgement, without knowledge and without being so alone in your thoughts of this world.”