Then the city’s most vaunted poet spoke, saying: Please speak to us about words.

The next child answered:

Do not trust words. They are flimsy and floppy. You may inflate them into many beautiful and sophisticated shapes, but a jester can easily twist them into his own design.

A word alone carries only a shell of meaning. When you speak a word and mean only a dictionary definition, you are not feeding the mind of the person with whom you speak. You give him a bone with no meat.

Instead of words, trust your very life-force. You must breathe this life-force into your words as if they were your own children. Indeed your words are your children, for once you release your words into the world you cannot direct them anymore.

Choose your vocabulary as a painter chooses a palette. If you have the wrong colors, your painting will be jarring or unintelligible. If a word you like to use does not suit the painting you have in mind, then you must remove it from your vocabulary as you remove spoiled food from your kitchen.

Even your greatest words, infused with the most subtle and intense passion, may yet be misunderstood. Be not dismayed. The light of the Sun may blind us if our eyes are not ready to see it, so we are each endowed with eyelids to shield ourselves from it.

Too many words will bore and irritate your audience, but too few will leave them confused. Even so, prefer less words rather than more. Those who are prepared to hear what you have to say will not need many words.

Words that are not spoken as a blessing are spoken as a curse, even if you do not know it. For indifference is a curse nearly as potent as hatred. Let your every word be a blessing, and when you would rather curse, choose instead to sit in silence, so that your curse does not turn in upon you.

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