from Brian Kingslake, Angel Stories (Worcester, England,  Arthur James, Ltd., 1982)

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Preparation for Life

Two brothers - twins - were earnestly, discussing their situation.

"I have a strong premonition," said one, "that we are about to die."

"So have I," said the other. "I believe we shall both die together, and pretty soon!"

"What a disaster!" lamented the first. "It's all such a tragic waste, considering what progress we have made, and what we have achieved here in this place."

His brother meditated for a while. "Don't laugh," he said, "but I believe there may be a life after this - a continuation of consciousness, perhaps in another mode of existence, for which we have been unwittingly preparing during our life here."

The other twin smiled skeptically and shook his head - something he had only recently learned to do. "I doubt it," he said. "It's only wishful thinking."

"Well, perhaps you are right. But I have often wondered what has been the purpose of it all. Why have we eyes, when there is no light to see by? Why ears, when there is nothing to hear - except this eternal thump thump, thump thump, thump thump? And why have we developed legs and feet, considering we have been carried all our lives?"

"On the other hand," said his brother, "If there were in fact some sort of future life awaiting us in another sphere, surely someone would have come back and informed us? But no traveler has ever returned. Death, I believe, winds up everything. We slip away, and that's the end."

"How long have we been alive, do you think?" asked the first.

"Nine months," replied the other. "That's usual, you know, before delivery." He began to murmur some half-remembered quotation: "If, by reason of strength, it is more than nine months, it's only labor and sorrow ... It's soon cut off, and we fly away."

"So teach us to number our days," added his brother grimly, "that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."

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