by Jay Edson
Once a termite in the Black Forest peered out of a hole in the woodwork of the house in which he lived and saw a great philosopher coming and going. This, he knew, was an important vision. He rushed back to his termite community where he proclaimed his discovery. In due time he became a great anthropologian. None doubted that he knew and understood the essence of the Great Philosopher.
After a while another termite, inspired by the reports of the first, crept to the surface of the woodwork. It was the middle of a dark night. Peering out into the room, he was startled by the glare of a bright light. There he saw the Philosopher Himself, laboring over a heavy tome by the aid of His lamp. This termite, also, rushed back to his fellows and told them of his vision. At the same time he confessed his total bewilderment. "The light was blinding," he said, "but I could still see one thing: although the man sat both at and on something wooden, and held some more wood in His hand, He did not take a single bite out of any of it. It made no sense whatever. The only conclusion I can draw is that we are very small and understand little or nothing of this great world."
Though his fellows had an initial interest in the report of this second termite, they came to feel that his conclusions were of little worth. So they returned to the first termite for an explanation. "Yes, of course I understand," said the great anthropologian. "The man is sitting at His dinner. He is waiting for it to get dark, at which time he will eat all the wood sitting in front of him."