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Letters from an Ancient Mind

My dear young friend,

What a grand moment! I offer you my heartiest congratulations; it is written that “he who finds a wife finds a good thing.”

It is certain to me that you do not comprehend the gravity of the decision taken. Indeed, you could not, for you have not been where I have been. I bring it to your mind only so that you might understand the reaction of the young lady’s parents – and your own, I suspect.

“You are too young,” they say. Were my noble father still with us he would say the same to me. Your father sees as one looking back over the road; you see as one looking ahead. The ruts, holes and rocks are clearer to him. Bear with his anxiety, my friend. He is simply thinking of all the things he wants to teach you – and does not know how.

You are young and strong. How did you gain such strength? Was it not in testing yourself against the one who taught you how to be both man and husband? If by nothing but example, he is your teacher. Now he sees his student departing the academy – and thinks of all the lessons he would still deliver. Be patient with him; let him know that you have not finished heeding his good advice.

By all means, however, you must bring your bride into the closest harmony with your mother. If for no other reason than the kitchen, do this quickly. Your belly will thank you for it later. Most girls have mastered the art of managing the kitchen by her age – but spice in the meal is a matter of taste, and she had best know yours.

Do not trespass upon the two of them in the kitchen. Consider it thus: you are the son of your father, and who has more knowledge of your father? Your mother has no doubt mastered the art of pleasing your father. Give her the time to teach your bride the art of pleasing you.

There is more. The time will come when she becomes upset with you. She will need a confidant. She will need one who understands you. To whom would you entrust her tears? Your mother knows you well and loves you. Her advice will be the most fruitful.

Indeed, your bride is now to be a part of your family. It is the greatest change in her life, save death itself. She leaves her own father and mother and comes to you. Give your parents time to learn to love her; then she will be sure of a fine welcome.

With my heartiest congratulations,

I remain,

Isaac the Alchemist

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