There was a courageous young man who was yearning to find something that couldn’t be found on Earth but at the same time something useful for himself and for other people. He met a grey-haired hermit who lived in the distant mountains and asked him if his dream could be made true.
“Yes, it’s possible,” the hermit replied, “if you follow my advice. Now you will enter this cave and face a serious trial. You should say no to all questions but when you hear the most important question, you must say yes, or else you will die.”
They came closer to the cave. There was no one there. As soon as the young man entered the cave, he heard a thunderous and powerful voice:
“Do you want to be young forever?”
“No,” the young man was a little embarrassed.
“Do you want the most beautiful girl in the world to be your wife?”
“No,” the young man hesitated.
“Do you want to become a famous general?”
“No,” the young man replied more firmly.
“Do you want to possess all wealth of the earth?”
“No,” the young man was adamant.
“Do you want to die for the sake of something that isn’t there?”
“Yes,” the young man responded calmly.
The ground shook and the young man heard a faint groan, “You’ve won, O human being, and now I have to leave the face of the earth…” The young man looked around and could no longer see the cave and the hermit. He found himself surrounded by happy young people. “What was that?” the young man inquired. “It was the Death!” was the answer.
…For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us (1 John 1:2).
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds