“For you must not forget, O Hadji,” said the sad Voice of the Night, “that no one in Daybyday could tell the twins, Really-Is and Seemsto-Be, one from the other, and therefore, you see, the prince who first reached the Royal City would surely be proclaimed king.”
Hard and fast, fast and hard, rode the two who raced for the Crown of Allthetime. But always Appearance the horse of Seemsto-Be, proved faster than Reality, the horse of Really-Is, and so the prince who was first born rode far behind.
Now just this side of the river that marks the end of the Land of Allthetime the road divides, the way to the left leading to the Brazen Gate called Chance, and the other, to the right, going straight to the Golden Gate, Opportunity. And just here it is, at the parting of the ways, that Wisdom lives in his little house beside the road.
When Really-Is in turn arrived at this place, he dismounted from his tired horse, and approaching the little house, asked of Wisdom if he had seen one pass that way riding in great haste.
“Aye, that I have,” replied Wisdom with a smile, “that I have, young sir, and many would say that it was yourself who rode so hard.”
“It was my brother, good sir,” replied the prince. “May I ask which way he went and how far he rides ahead?”
The old man, pointing, answered: “He took the road to the left there and he rides so far ahead that you cannot now overtake him this side the city walls.”
“At least I must try to overtake him,” answered the prince, and, thanking the old man, he turned quickly to mount his horse again.
But Wisdom cried, “Why so fast? Why so fast? Is not your brother’s name Seemsto-Be? And are not you, Really-Is, the rightful heir to the throne of Allthetime?”
“It is indeed so, sir,” replied the young man sadly. “I am Really-Is. I was born before my brother, Seemsto-Be, and am, therefore, the rightful heir to the Crown. Our father, King What-Soever-Youthink, is dead, and I must hasten or my brother will be crowned king, for as you see, the people cannot tell us one from the other.”
Then said Wisdom: “But you will gain nothing by haste, oh Really-Is,—nothing but time, and there is much of greater value than time to a King of Allthetime. Even now is Seemsto-Be entering the city. Even now is he by the people being hailed King. Therefore, tarry a while before you act and listen to my words.”
So it was that Really-Is paused on his journey to sit awhile with Wisdom in the little house by the side of the road.