Sometimes a cliche attains the status of a cliche because there's a lot of truth to it. (Hey, that's almost a cliche in itself!)

This is one of those cliches that is very comforting in bad times and disquieting in good times.

Pete Seeger wrote a song called Seek and You Shall Find. In that song he tells a story (along these lines) about a king who has just had a son. The king wants his son to know all the knowledge of the world in order to rule with wisdom and be a good king. So the king tells his wisest wisemen to go out and sum up all the knowledge of the world into a book. And the wise men say, "Oh king, it will take us 10 years to do such a thing, but we will go."

The wisemen return ten years later and give the king the book of all the knowledge in the world. It was beautiful--gilded pages and leather bound. It was truly glorious thing to behold.

The king is very happy. And then he tells them, "You have done so very well, my wisemen. I have another task for you--I want you to sum up all the knowledge of the world into one sentence."

And the wisemen say, "Oh king, it would take us 10 years to do such a thing, but we will go."

The wisemen go, and return ten years later. They approach the king and say, "Your majesty, we have gone out into the world and wondered and worked and have summed up all the knoweldge of the world into one sentence. It is: This too shall pass."

And the king was merry with such news. He contemplated this sentence for a while, then, since he didn't have anything else to do with his wisemen, he sent them out to sum up all the knowledge into one word.

The wisemen said, "Oh king--this is a hard task indeed. It will take us 10 years to finish such a task."

And they left.

And another ten years passed and the wisemen returned. The king was old at this point, and a bit forgetful. The wisemen said, "We have returned oh king!"

And the king said, "Returned, eh? Ohhhh... Returned with the word, I see! What is it!?"

"Maybe."

A wise king, sensing unrest in his kingdom, once commissioned the land to provide to him a magical token. This token was to protect the weak and bring low the strong. It had to give comfort to the aged and young alike. It was to strike fear in the hearts of the evil, and bring hope to the good.

The magicians and alchemists busied themselves with their tomes and their artifacts. Many items were brought to the king, weapons and charms and scrolls and statues. Each was politely received, none were accepted. The strong oppressed the weak, the good hid from the evil, the young impatiently hurried about, the aged sadly waited.

After many years, a lone sage from a faraway land entered the court, and quietly set a plain wooden box in front of the king. Opening the box, a small velvet bag. Inside the bag, a small silver ring. Inscribed upon the ring, a simple affirmation:

This Too Shall Pass

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