The wizard led his most able student through the southern wood. At last in the midst of a grove of ancient trees they came upon a mirror-like pool. The magician opened his travelling bag and withdrew a horn cup. He stooped down and drew some water and handed it to the lad to drink.
As the apprentice sipped the cool water, the mage said, “It is said that the pool is as deep as sea, though it has but little surface. Drinking of these enchanted waters will allow those who know of them to see deep truths and have even deeper thoughts.”
“Master, if it is so deep, how does it reflect back so?” the boy questioned.
“Why would it not be so?” the wizard asked. “In a shallow pool you can see the stones on the bottom, and the fish darting about. Can you not?”
“Yes, I suppose you can, ” the boy said, mentally conjuring such an image.
“And a piece of glass is transparent, but if painted on its back, does the darkness not cause it to become a mirror?” the magician coxed.
“Yes, it does,” the boy said. “I can see now that the water must be dark, but does that mean it is necessarily deep?”
The wizard again pulled a horn cup from his traveling bag and handed it to the lad. “Now draw some water from the pool. Is it opaque or transparent?”
“It is clear. But that alone does not indicate the pool’s depth,” the boy answered.
“How then might you determine the depth?” the wizard asked.
“I might tie a weight to the end of a rope, and then drop it into the waters to see how much rope it takes to meet the bottom,” the apprentice said thoughtfully.
“Do you have such a rope?” the magician challenged.
“No Master, I do not.”
“What else might you do then to answer your query?” the wise old man asked.
The boy thought for a moment, then without a word, he stepped into the pool and was submerged to his waist.
“It is only a few feet deep,” the boy said triumphantly.
“Did I not tell you that drinking from the pool would give you deep thoughts and insights? Well done, Lad.”