A Tale: Betrayal & Wisdom

Once upon a time, a young man dreamed of become a master craftsman. He was apprenticed to the finest artisan in the nearby town. Over the course of many years, the young man passed his apprenticeship. The master was a kind man and was proud of his student. He realized that for the young man to develop his talents further, the master had to send him away to study with another master with greater skills. So, they parted in friendship and respect.


The young man traveled to a distant city where everything seemed strange to him. His new master was not so kind, not so willing to teach everything he knew. The young man, believing that he need only work hard to earn the respect of this new master, focused his time and attention on his craft. He worked hard, and his abilities grew. And as he developed a reputation in the city for the quality of his work, the master’s unkindness grew.

The young man, no longer so very young, had become familiar with the moral culture of the city although he was not comfortable with it. He discovered that people said ‘yes’ when they meant ‘no’, they would praise him to his face and then insult him behind his back. He took this in stride, learning who and when to trust. Except for his master. He would not believe that his master would betray him.

Until one day, the master’s son came to him in the workshop. “You should know,” the son said, “that my father is selling your work and claiming it as his own. He has hidden your journeyman’s mark and replaced it with his master’s mark. He tells people that any work you claim as your own has been stolen from him.”

The young man was shocked. He could barely believe what he was hearing. The son continued, “I like you, but, I think you should go, and soon. My father will find a way to drive you out of the city in shame, if he can. He is jealous over your passion for your work. He left that passion far behind in his pursuit of money and power.”

The young man and the master’s son developed a plan. The son asked his father to assign the young man as his traveling companion and they would both leave the city together. The master agreed, thinking it was the best way to get rid of the young man who he knew would safely escort his son to the neighboring kingdom to study as a physician.

As they traveled, they unraveled the betrayal of the master as it impacted not just the journeyman but the son as well since he had seen it play out over and again. While they began to understand what might drive a man to do this – they could not condone it and they  made a pact to remain friends. The son went off to his studies and the journeyman went to find a position in the city practicing his craft.

to be continued …

This parable cover the first two cards – the 8 of Pentacles and the 3 of Swords. Remember, swords about all about the mind – thoughts, beliefs, ethics, justice, law. Although our visceral reaction to the 3 of Swords might evoke heartbreak, this card is more in line with the way our thoughts and beliefs betray us.