By S M Chen, posted April 10, 2017    “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” –Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), longest serving FLOTUS [Photo by D Kovacs]

Start with one comely young man of great promise:

Rescues lamb from jaws of bear.

Rescues sheep from clutches of lion.

Slays giant Philistine with stone and sling.

Forms deep friendship with prince, son of king.

Becomes king himself.

Marries daughter of prior king – a princess.

Add lust of eye – perhaps both eyes.

Stir in murder – more than a pinch (is murder ever less than a pinch?)

Let simmer; boiling over may be unpreventable, even if pot is uncovered and fire is low.

Clean up overflow.

Rinse cleanup cloth, but keep handy; more cleanup may be needed later.

Replenish fire as needed.

Keep plenty of wood; this fire will burn awhile.

Let plot thicken.

No need for additive; it will thicken of own accord.

Add a dash of sleepless nights.

Do not taste; mixture is bitter.

If proof needed, insert fingertip (not more) into stew, then mouth.

Run cool water over fingertip.

Avoid four-letter words.

Rinse mouth.

Resolve to believe recipe in future.

Protagonist is castigated by prophet.

Marries widow of innocent man killed in battle.

With multiple wives, has multiple children; never a good idea.

Son of one wife grows up to, like his father (like father, like son?), succumb to lust – for his half sister.

Despite her plea, he forces himself on her.

She grieves.

Remove lid; handle potholders with care.

Mix in half a cup of tears.

Probably no need for salt; tears may be salty enough.

Stir ever so gently.

Her brother learns of her grief, is determined to wreak vengeance upon perpetrator, his half-brother.

Which he does at a subsequent banquet.

Blood flows, some into pot.

No need for yeast.

This mixture has enough ingredients to rise on its own.

Also no need for spice.

A comely man in his own right, avenger decides to usurp throne.

Once (and future) king flees.

In subsequent combat, usurper flees by mule.

His mane catches in low-hanging branches of an oak (every yang has its yin), and he is killed.

More blood is shed.

Blood is salty, and has a flavor all its own.

More will trickle into pot; it cannot be prevented.

Add cup of gall.

Little to no stirring needed; gall will disperse on its own, and tends to dominate whatever it is commingled with.

The king has epiphany, writes psalms – 150 of them.

Despite all above, the Almighty calls king ‘man after His own heart.’

‘Where sin doth abound, grace doth much more abound.’ – Rom. 5:20.

Cooking is done.

Extinguish the fire.

Let pot sit.

Contemplate follies of man.

“What fools these mortals be!” – Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“We have met the enemy, and he is us.” – Walt Kelly, “Pogo” comic strip.

Final stew is less bitter, but also less sweet, than it might have been.

Once put in the pot of life, ingredients cannot be removed.

They can only be tempered by more ingredients.

Choose wisely.

S M Chen lives and writes in California.