Many years ago in a village not far from here, there lived a young man in his teens who was always curious about everything in his life and in the world. He was constantly asking things like, "What will happen tomorrow?", or "Why is the world the way it is?", or "What would have happened yesterday, had something been different?" And so on.

One day he got tired of not knowing things, and didn't want to ask any more questions. So he decided to go out and seek the Ultimate Knowledge. It had been said around his village that if one were to go to the highest point in the village, which was the mountain on the city's outskirts, and there cry, "I am seeking the Ultimate Knowledge!", then the Ultimate Knowledge would come to them.

So the young man left the small hut where he lived with his mother and father and went to the mountain. He climbed to the very top and once he was there, he shouted, "I am seeking the Ultimate Knowledge!"

Almost as soon as he had said this, winds began to blow, and the shape of the sky seemed to change. Soon the air had manifested itself into the outline of man, and not long after that the man became more visible. He was an old man with white hair and wrinkles all over, who appeared to be frail but very wise, like one who has lived for many years and seen many things. The old man said to the young man, "I am the Ultimate Knowledge. I spend all my time watching and observing the events that transpire. I have traveled into the past and the future, and seen the things that happen there. I have observed all the different realities; not only the things that did or will happen, but the things that could have happened, or would have happened, or might have happened, or did not happen. There is very little that I do not know, and I am working to learn that as well. What is your question? Ask anything you like, and an answer shall be given."

So the young man asked a question that he had thought about often. "How long will be my years, and what day am I to die?"

"I could tell you this.", replied the Ultimate Knowledge. "But are you sure you wish to know? Would you rather live your life knowing, 'this shall be my last year and tomorrow I will die', or live your life in happiness and enjoy each moment?"

The young man thought of what had been said and decided that he did not wish to know the answer. So he asked another question that had often pressed heavily on his heart. "Ultimate Knowledge, there is a maiden I love and oft do I wonder if she loves me, and if she and I are ever to be together, and live happily as husband and wife?"

"I could tell you this.", the Ultimate Knowledge said yet again. "But are you sure you wish to know? Would it not be better and more joyful to you if she tells you herself whether or not she loves you, and if you tell her such as well? Would it not please you more to experience these things, the joys and pains of love, for yourself rather than know them beforehand?"

Upon thinking of this, the young man realized that he agreed. So one more question came to his mind. He recalled an earlier time in his life when he had been usually unkind, unjust, and dishonorable; he had done many things during that time that he now greatly regretted. "Ultimate Knowledge, tell me; what would have happened if I had always been good and kind, and if I had never walked down the wrong path?"

"I could tell you this.", the old man answered, this response now expected by the younger. "But are you sure you wish to know? For what is the use in dreaming of what might have happened? If what might have happened is better than what really happened, then would it not be saddening and fruitless to think about such all the time? Rather, would you not dwell on the things that are?"

The boy considered this and realized that, once again, the Ultimate Knowledge was correct.

"If you have so many questions", the old man spoke, "Then I could simply give you the Ultimate Knowledge, and you would know everything for yourself. You would not have to worry or wonder or speculate about anything anymore. No more surprises or unexpected occurrences! What do you say?"

The young man considered this. It would be nice to have the answers to all of life's questions whenever he wanted them; to know for sure what people thought of him and how things would turn out. But then again, did he really wish to? Would life not grow dull if there were no more surprises? Was it not part of the joy of life to see what happens next and take things as they come, rather than know everything before it happened?

"No thank you .", the young man answered. "I do not wish for the Ultimate Knowledge."

"A wise decision.", the old man replied, though somewhat internally saddened himself. He always wished that someone else would take on the Ultimate Knowledge so that they would bear the burden of knowing everything and he himself could once again be free to his old life on the earth. But no, that was not to happen this time.

"Thank you for your words, Ultimate Knowledge.", the young man replied. And almost as soon as he had said it, winds began to blow again. The shape of the old man began to dissolve, and soon it was blown away by the wind.

The young man climbed back down from the mountain, wondering if he had just made a great mistake. He considered summoning the Ultimate Knowledge once again, but decided against it. He had learned that there were some things mortals were not meant to know, and some things not worth finding out prematurely.

Once he was at the foot of the mountain, he want back to his hut and his parents. "So, did you achieve the Ultimate Knowledge?", his mother asked him upon his return.

"Yes.", he replied. "I did."