The trial was held in secret court with three judges in black robes and black hoods. There was no jury, no attorneys for prosecution or defense, only judges, three judges with black robes and black hoods and no faces where faces ought to be. The courtroom was dark with high candles casting eerie light.
The judges said in passing sentence (for the sentence was the trial and the trial the sentence) “We condemn you to wander, to look for you know not what, to go you know not where, to search and seek, to wander on and on, to never rest and never stop, to look and search and seek until you can look and search no more. Go, go, into the world and do not rest until you have found you know not what at a place you know not where, and until you do never stop and never rest but only wander ever on and on and on.
That was forty odd years ago, and ever since the wanderer has wandered on in highlands and lowlands, in mountains and valleys, across oceans and on islands, in the East and the West, in the North and the South, in old empires and in new republics, in deserts and jungles, by rivers, in prairies, though cities and towns, through farmland and wasteland. Wherever man has trod, he trod. Wherever man has looked, he looked. And still he wandered on.
At last young bones became old bones, young flesh old flesh, and black hair white. The vigorous pace of youth became the faltering steps of age. Tired flesh and weary bones must stop and rest a while and so the wanderer came to a village. His hair was white and his face was lined with age. The villagers looked at him with wonderment.
They asked where he been and he told them. They asked what he had seen and he told them. They asked what he had done and he told them. They asked what was the use of it all and he said nothing, only thinking of three judges long ago, three judges with black robes and black hoods, and no faces where faces ought to be.
At length he died, for flesh is weak, and bones will tire, and the body will fail with age. But even as he died he wandered on to look for he knew not what at a place he knew not where.
This page was last updated December 1, 2005.