“What is it you want?”
I dropped my rucksack, fell to my knees on the cold floor, and prostrated myself before him. “Are you Tarak D’oh?” I whispered.
The old man chuckled and cleaned his yellowed teeth with a piece of bone. “I’ve not been called that in a long time,” he replied. “I’m retired you know?”
“Yes. It gets a bit wearisome trying to make up obscure ways to tell people the meaning of life.”
“But,” I stammered, aghast, “you’ve helped so many people. You are the Wisdom of the Mountains. How can you talk this way?”
He stopped picking his teeth and threaded the bone carefully back into the folds of his robe. “Don’t mind me. I’ve been doing this for too long. What is it you wanted to know?”
I hesitated, embarrassed, then replied, “I wanted to know the meaning of it all, why we are here.”
“Well, that’s actually two questions.”
“It is?”
“Yes. The first, the meaning of it all, is easily answered: the meaning is within, and it is without, and found when the two are one.”
I quickly grabbed a notebook out of my jacket pocket and scribbled down the phrase. “That’s amazing! I get it! And, the second question?”
“Yes, er, more difficult: why we are here. Well, I'm here because I don’t know the way out of these blasted mountains.”