The prophet Solomon was complaining one day of the short duration of human life.
“What avails,” said he, “my great wisdom, since it is not permitted me to taste its fruits? The greatest part of my days were passed before I had experience; and now, that I would put to use what I have acquired, I am on the verge of the grave. What is the wisdom of man, but a transient flower? It puts forth leaves many days and weeks before its cup is opened; but, as soon as it has passed the age of its maturity, its beauty fades; it withers without having seen its fruit.”
He spoke thus, and was filled with sorrow; when, raising his eyes, he saw an angel, a vase of sapphire in his hand, descend from Heaven.
“Solomon” said the servant of Divine Power, “I come from the throne of the Eternal. He has heard thy complaint, and has sent me to bring thee the water of life. If thou drink from this vase, thou wilt become immortal, and thou wilt enjoy an eternal youth. If thou drink not, thou wilt pass away, like all that are flesh, when thy hour shall have come. The Eternal leaves thee to thy choice; do as shall seem best to thee.”
The angel deposited the vase at the prophet’s feet, and vanished.
Solomon knew not what to do. He called together his viziers. All counseled him to choose immortality; but as Butimar, the wisest among them, was not present, the prophet had him summoned, and put to him the same question which he had addressed to the others.
“Great King,” replied Butimar, “this water of life – – – is it destined for thee alone ? Or canst thou likewise give unto others to drink of it?”
“The Almighty,” answered Solomon “has accorded this favor to me alone.”
“In that case,” replied Butimar to the Vizier “thy children, the most beloved of thy wives, will die one after another. Like a tree which one strips, every year, of its fairest fruit, thou wilt lose, every month, every week, every day, a favorite, dear to thy heart.”
Big Pharma fell into the trap that wise Solomon had avoided. Meanwhile, Jeff, much older and also much wiser, had been following the news coming out of Europe, Asia and Africa.
“The Magic Ring” had been used in Europe, Asia and Africa for over twenty-five years. Those who used it were coming down with a rare type of incurable cancer and dying.
Their offspring were incapable of creating children; males could not fertilize an ovum and the females were incapable of producing ova.
A precipitous population drop due to deaths and extremely low birth rates dangerously affected the economy of the three continents.
Jeff went to his files to determine where he may have erred in his formula. Thankfully he had saved those photo shopped pictures of his technical notebook.
TOMORROW: 18. The Sacred Fire