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Chapter 3: Pecking and Tapping

There is a temple devoted to the King of the Night - very ancient, huge, with one thousand priests. The high priest one night dreams that the King of the Night has appeared and said to him, “Tomorrow I am going to visit the temple. Clean it, prepare it. I have not been there for centuries. I have to go to many other temples too.”

He woke up, perspiring, although he has been praying every day for just this fact, that “you should appear, you should give us a glimpse of your being, your splendor.”

And now the dream has come, but a dream.? In the middle of the night, he called all the priests from their beds and said, “I am sorry to disturb you, but the problem is really serious. I have seen in my dream the King of the Night, saying, ‘Prepare, clean the temple, I am coming to visit tomorrow.’”

The other priests started laughing. They said, “It seems you have become too old, senile. Just a dream and you have unnecessarily harassed us.”

The old man said, “I understand that you will laugh at me. I thought about it before I woke you up, but there is no harm in preparing. Anyway the temple has needed painting for centuries.”

The temple had been completely abandoned by people. It was far away from the habitation of people in the deep forest. And the priests had also by and by become skeptical. Many of them had stopped praying.

Many of them had become agnostic: “Who knows if there is a King of the Night? We have been here - we have never seen him. Our parents have been here - they have never seen. Their parents have been here - they have not been able to see him. Centuries have passed and we have been serving these stone statues and now suddenly you want us to believe in your dream?”

The chief priest said, “I myself don’t believe in it, but there is no harm. Just think of the other possibility if he comes.There is no chance, I know, but just give a one percent possibility. It is one hundred percent certain there is no possibility that he will come. It is just a dream, but just give one percentage point.if he comes and finds us unprepared, no flowers for him, no sweets for his welcome, no music, no dance, no candles, then we will be in really bad shape. One thousand priests.what are you doing here?

“And anyway, if we clean the temple, bring flowers, burn candles as if he is coming and he does not come, there is no harm. It is our temple and we live in it, we have celebrated it. The guest has promised but did not turn up. There is no harm in preparing, but in not preparing there is tremendous risk, and I cannot take that risk.”

By that time the night was almost over and everybody gave thought to the old priest - he was reasonable. The temple was cleaned. It had hundreds of statues, so much dust, for centuries nobody has cared. They brought flowers and perfume, and they brought sweets and they prepared special food.

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