“How…how could you say such things?” the young student said, visibly shaken and flustered.

“Ah, I can tell from your voice that you are young,” came the reply, from behind unblinking, clouded, rheumy eyes. “And I think I can tell from your reaction that your glow has not yet faded with age.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” the student said, indignant.

“It means that when we are young and beautiful, we are used to getting our own way,” sighed the sage. “People give us their attention not because of what we say but because of who we are, and we are allowed to spout nonsense unchallenged by those blinded by our beauty or desirous of it.”

“But not you,” said the student, sarcastically.

“I have no sight left to see beauty, and no patience left for the folly and self-assurance of youth,” said the sage. “Better to be brought to the harsh light now than to only find it years later, when beauty has faded and decisions are made.”

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