A Cautionary Tale

Malka and I were on the phone schmoozing. We’ve known one another since the mountain, another universe, and since then she has also been graced with an extraordinary life.
When laughing delightedly Malka said, “Oh, Sylvia, we’re so lucky!” I gurgled: “Malka, no no no! Rice no good!”
Then I interpreted…
Years ago my mother’s bonsai master told her a parable that has been superstitiously in my bones since.
One morning after an especially fine growing season, the rice farmer came out to his fields and was astonished to find his crop was more bountiful than he’d ever seen it.
Beaming, the farmer called out to his fields, “Oh, what a beautiful crop of rice! Oh thank you, thank you, rice! You’re the finest crop ever!”
That afternoon, locusts stripped the fields bare.
Discouraged but determined, the farmer again set out seedlings, tended them carefully.
Harvest time, his fields were even more lush than before.
But this time when he came out in the morning, he shook his fist furiously at the fields, yelled at them, “Oh what an ugly crop! What terrible rice you are! Rice no good!
Hearing him down wind, the locusts ignored his fields, took their mandibles elsewhere.
In other words, never tempt fate.

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