The prince went to the master and he was surprised – surprised by the fact that the master was a master of archery: “And what has archery to do with morality? Has my father gone senile?” But he had come to the mountains, so he thought, “It is better to see the old man at least once.”
He went in. The old man was immensely beautiful and graceful, surrounded by an aura of silence and peace. He had been thinking he was going to meet a warrior, an archer, but here was a sage. He was getting even more puzzled. He asked the old man, “Are you the master archer?” He said, “You are right.”
The prince said, “I have been sent by my father, the king, who is your disciple, to learn morality from you. I cannot see any connection at all between morality and archery.” The old man laughed and he said, “Soon you will see.”
The prince said, “I am in a hurry. My father is old, and before he dies I want to fulfill his desire.” The master said, “Then get lost, because these things cannot be learned in a hurry. Patience, infinite patience is the very foundation of learning any art, whether it is archery or it is morality.”
Looking at the old man’s eyes the prince remained, and he said, “When are my lessons going to start?” The old man said, “Just now they have started. Patience is your first lesson. And about the second lesson I should make you aware. The second lesson is that you will be cleaning the floors, cleaning in the garden, collecting the old leaves, throwing them out. Be very careful, because I may hit you with a wooden sword at any moment. Although it is wooden, it hits really hard. It has given many people fractures.”
The prince said, “But I have come here to learn morality, not to get fractures!” The old man said, “That will come in its own time, this is only the beginning.” Puzzled, confused…but he knew his father, that if he went back empty-handed the old man would be really enraged. He had to learn. On both sides two mad, old people…. “And this man is trying to teach me morality by hitting me! But let us see what happens.”
And the master started hitting him. He would be washing the floor, and suddenly a hit would come. He would be cleaning the path in the garden, and suddenly a hit would come. But he became surprised, within a week, that a certain intuition was arising in him. Even before the old man had approached him, he would jump out of his way. Whatever he was doing, some part of his consciousness was continuously alert the old man, where he was. And the old man used to walk so silently that it was almost impossible to remain conscious. But he started being conscious, because getting so many hits, his whole body was hurting.
It continued for one month. But in one month he became so capable that the old man was no longer able to hit him. The old man said, “You are really the son of your father. He was also very keen, intense, and total in learning; it won’t take much time. Your first lesson is finished today, because for twenty-four hours I have been trying to hit you, but you have been found always alert, and saved yourself.