I am reading Irish Fairy Tales, the old version by James Stephens, illustrated by Arthur Rackham. And in amidst the fantastical tales, oh-so-artfully spun, are these wise little asides, these tiny bits of philosophy that set me in a ponder all the day. Here. Now you can ponder too:
We get wise by asking questions, and even if these are not answered we get wise for a well-packed question carries its answer on its back as a snail carries its shell. Fionn asked every question he could think of, and his master, who was a poet, and so an honourable man, answered them all, not to the limit of his patience, for it was limitless, but to the limit of his ability.
"Why do you live on the bank of a river?" was one of the questions.
"Because a poem is a revelation, and it is by the brink of running water that poetry is revealed to the mind."
"Have you caught good poems?" Fionn asked him.
"The poems I am fit for," said the mild master. "No person can get more than that, for a man's readiness is his limit."