The Ever-Weeping Woman & The River Daughter
There was once a woman who was ever-weeping. By day she wept, and by night. She wept with joy, and with sorrow. She wept because the clouds were high, and because they lay low. She wept when the sun shone bright, and when the rain poured down. But most of all she wept because it seemed to her that there were no more surprises left in the world.
There were few places where she could do her weeping in peace, for those she came across found her ceaseless tears unbearable after a time. And so, when her feet could no longer carry her from place to place and the time had come for her to find a home, she sat beside a river under the cover of willow branches and found herself in perfect company for her tears.
Thus she sat and cried her tears until the river daughter, astonished by the sudden swell in her river, tread from within the swift current and surfaced to see the face of the weeping one.
Then the river daughter asked, ‘Sister, why do you cry?’
‘I cry because of the beauty and the sorrow of the world. I cry because of the changes all around me. But most of all I cry because none of it is unexpected; it seems that there are no more surprises left in all the world.’
The river daughter thought on this, sinking below the depths of water, in contemplation on the nature of the weeping woman’s tears.
It came to her all of a sudden—as all the best ideas are wont to do—and without a second thought she left her river and came and placed her arms around the shoulders of the ever-weeping woman. The woman’s eyes flew wide at the unexpected kindly impulse, for no one, in all her days had ever performed so caring a deed. In her surprise, she felt herself freeze in the wonder of it.
To this day she sits, wide-eyed and frozen—so let that be the lesson here: that we never think the world has yielded up all her surprises.