Karl Wiener

The know-all

       Nobody knows all things of live, but there are some, who believe to be wiser than  other people. He was an cunning boy. His name was Ken. He could count up to three already from early childhood. Later on, when he found he could count up to ten, I’m sure with some difficulty, and only by using his fingers, he convinced himself to be an expert with mathematics. By no stretch of his imagination he could believe, that anyone would be wiser than himself. Trusting to his intelligence he gave unnecessary advice to everyone without being asked. As a result his playmates gave him the nickname of Know-all.
      Ken spent a great deal of his spare time contemplating the tip of his own nose. He did this by directing his eyes inwards and gazing down towards the ground. You might like to try this trick. You’ll find that your horizon is narrowed and the freckles on your nose become so important that they put everything else in the shade. Often he closed thoughtfully one eye. His mates took this to be a cunning and clever gesture, and they tried to imitate him. But due to their eagerness they overdid the gesture and closed both eyes. So they were unable to see anything. As the one-eyed person is king of the blind, they soon acknowledged Ken as their gang leader, who talked big whenever the chance arose. No topic was so insignificant as to make him keep his opinion to himself. He always started the discussion by saying: "My opinion...", and he added: "... and this is true", for he was convinced of his expertise on any subject you could name.         
     The small village where Ken lived was located in a deep valley, enclosed by tall mountains, as if it were at the bottom of a soup plate. Since he had never looked beyond the rim of that plate, Ken thought the world ended there. As a result he declared his village as being at the centre of the world. He didn’t know whether this world turned around or remained motionless, but the one thing he was sure of: If the world did rotate, then it rotated around him.       
     No one knows really why. Maybe it was the presentiment of a mystery waiting beyond the mountains that inspired Ken to set out for places beyond his horizon.  With much effort he climbed the steep slopes of the mountains, and he saw for the first time the broad landscape. He couldn’t believe his eyes. The things that he saw exceeded all his expectations. He descended down the other side of the mountains with such haste that he almost missed his footing on the narrow track. A fall would have ended in bad consequences for him, but Ken was lucky enough not to be harmed when he arrived at the plains.         
     We cannot speak about everything that happened to him during his stay beyond the mountains. This would be subject of another story.  But I’m sure, he soon found people there who could count up to more than ten. This seemed to make a firm impression on him. He hurried home to his village, again crossing those near impassable mountains. His friends, that were anxious about their gang leader, had gathered on the village green, when Ken appeared amidst of them. He was still out of breath. "Friends!" he exclaimed in an excited voice, "friends, you will never believe this, but beyond those mountains there too are some wise people who can even count up to more than ten". The crowd were astonished. And, for the first time they doubted the truth of his words, although he swore that those were really true.


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Published on e-Stories.org on 12.01.2008.


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