Once upon a time, there lived a boy named, Earnest.
You don’t like that name? Neither did Earnest. He especially hated it when people called him Earnie. But Earnest was his name. And though he didn’t like it, his parents did. This, of course, is why they gave him this name. And do you know what Earnest means? It means; sincere.
Earnest had an older brother named True. Now, that was a name Earnest liked. Why couldn’t he have been given that name, he often wondered. There were a lot of things Earnest didn’t necessarily like about himself. He was a very solemn child, giving serious thought to such grave matters as the problem with his name as well as to the problems he believed existed in his village.
See, he lived in a beautiful village called Wisdom. But surrounding his village were other villages which Earnest had visited. Intellect was to the west of Wisdom, Folly to the east. Just south of where Earnest lived was Wealth. There was another village Earnest knew of; the village of Glory. Earnest had heard of it, but had not yet traveled there. It was so far north that it would take several days travel to arrive there. So, of the surrounding villages, it was the first three mentioned where Earnest most often played when not at home.
It should be mentioned that although Wisdom was not a said enemy to the three villages of Folly, Intellect and Wealth, neither could Wisdom consider them allies. Ernest was encouraged by his parents to stay in his own village to play, yet not exactly forbidden from doing otherwise. So, when finished with his required reading, sometimes he made his way to these other villages, where he had friends.
Now, Earnest loved his home. His parents were very good and kind. The villagers, too, were people of honor. And the village of Wisdom was, indeed, beautiful. But the other villages were, well, glamorous. The houses were bigger (if not sturdy), the buildings shinier, even the grass, fluffier, although Earnest suspected it might not be real grass.
But the real discrepancy between his village and the others was in the way the villages were governed. In the village of Wisdom, it seemed that many of the important duties were reserved for the elders but in the villages of Intellect, Wealth and Folly, age was of little importance. And so Earnest’s friends had responsibilities which Ernest didn’t. For example, in Wealth, Earnest’s friend, Edward was given the job of money counter, Peter was a teacher in Intellect and Henry, from Folly was a soldier already. Now, granted, Wisdom did not engage in warfare and neither was money much needed but still, Earnest longed for the day his services would be required. He wanted to feel important.
He once expressed this to his father who had merely replied that Earnest was indeed important but that currently he was not ready for all that would be eventually asked of him.
“Keep reading our book,” instructed his father. “You’ll need it one day.”
Earnest was encouraged to hear that someday he would be called upon (though he knew not yet in what way and fairly doubted that his readings had much to do with anything) but was still a little disappointed that meanwhile, he seemed to lead an unfortunately less exciting life than that of his friends.
Yet, good boy that Earnest was, he followed his father’s instructions, diligently reading the sacred book, meditated on it day and night. As the years passed, Earnest found himself hungering for more of the book. He had read it from cover to cover but was astonished to find that each time he read, more was revealed. He also began to play less and less with his out of town friends yet he was never bored. He was learning such a great deal.
One day when he was by now full grown, Earnest’s father called for him.
“Earnest,” he said. “I am very proud of you, for you have hungered and thirsted after righteousness. You have lived up to your name. Now you will see why we have asked you for diligence. The job you will be given will require much of it. You still have a lot to learn. In fact, you will never cease to learn. But today you are ready to begin sharing with others what has been given to you.”
“What is my job, father?”
“You, Earnest, are to be a writer.”