They climbed up the rickety ladder that led to the Old Hermit’s hut. The three men in black cloaks knocked and stepped inside. The Wise Old Man had awaited their coming and knew about their long journey.
“Why are your hearts filled with anger when you enter my abode”, asked the old man. “We come to seek advice in a matter of war. A powerful enemy does not believe in our true God. These people are thus a threat to our nation”, replied one of the men. “Has the enemy provoked you? ”, asked the old man. “No, they have not as yet, Wise One. They have lived in peace. But they worship the wrong gods.”
“Yes, I see now why you bear weapons. Crusades and holy wars. That seems to be your way as it was mine for a very long time. For centuries I searched for the Holy Chalice thereby killing many men. I wanted to come closer to Him whose blood once filled that cup. But I never found it. Instead I lost myself as I lost Him. Then I retired here to live in seclusion on this mountain. But I found no peace. I saw that all men were on quests like I had been, killing and destroying in the name of gods.
So I say now to you: Lay down your weapons and let go of hate. Do not force anyone to believe in what you believe. Since Love is the key and never names of gods. He taught us to love each other as He loved us. That was His message pure and simple. Do you not see now?”
The men were silent. They wondered: “Who is he that speaks this way?”
“Oh, I am nobody, said the old man. I am you and you are me. We are all the same. All His kin. If only we remembered what we were taught to do.”
And all of a sudden they saw what he had seen, the Wise One. And he knew that they would be safe. “Live in peace with your neighbours. Love them like you love yourselves. That will be your true salvation. Now I am free to go and finally I shall have peace. I bid you goodbye, my children.”
And the Old Hermit was gone. And the three men were left to themselves. Now it was up to them to carry on his work. And they knew it would never be easy. Still it was the only way. Love was the key.