There once was a very wise doctor. He could make medications — medicine that could cure any illness imaginable.
The doctor had many children. One day, he traveled to a distant land. While he was away, his children mistakenly drank poison. They became very sick. Some were in pain, some lost their minds. Some were close to death. Others were only a little bit sick.
When the doctor returned from his long trip, he saw that his children were very sick.
All the children, even though ill with poison, were happy to see their father return. “Welcome home, father!” they said. “We’re so happy to see that you have returned safely. While you were away we were very foolish. We all mistakenly drank some poison. Please save us from this suffering!”
The doctor went to work, grinding, sifting, and mixing various herbs. He made a powerful medicine that had a beautiful color, excellent fragrance, and wonderful taste. This medicine was perfect.
Bringing the medicine to his children, he encouraged them to drink it: “My children, here is a medicine of excellent color, fragrance, and taste. Drink this and your illness will be gone and you will be well.”
Those children who were only slightly ill immediately took the medicine and were quickly cured. The children who had lost their minds refused the medicine. They were confused by the poison in their bodies. They refused to believe that their father’s medicine would help them.
“My poor children,” the father said, “because you have consumed poison, your thinking has become twisted. When you saw me return home, you begged me to cure you. But when I offered you this medicine, you refused it. If you won’t take this good medicine, how can you be cured?”
Although the children’s minds were confused, their father loved them. He had to think of a way to get them to take the medicine. Finally, the doctor said:
“My beloved children, hear me well! I am old and weak, and may die at any time. I will leave this medicine here for you. Even if I should die, your sickness can still be cured with this good medicine. Please don’t doubt that! I must leave now on another trip, so please remember what I have told you.”
The doctor then traveled to another land. He sent a messenger home to tell his children of his death. The children were stunned. They had never expected him to really die! They said: “Our father is dead! Now we have no one to rely on!”
Then, the children remembered the medicine that their father had left for them and his words before leaving. In tears, they each took some of the medicine and were immediately cured of their illness.
Then, to their amazement, their father returned home. For the first time they realized how great his love and mercy was for them.