Five men unexpectedly came upon a hole in the earth while hiking through the forest. The hole was perfectly round and too wide for a man to leap across. The men gathered at the edge of the hole and peered down.
Nothing but darkness.
“We should throw something down the hole,” someone suggested.
The men gathered some nearby rocks and sticks. One of the men dropped a rock inside the hole. The men listened and listened and listened. No sound ascended from the hole. The hole seemed without bottom.
Another man threw a stick into the hole. The stick whistled while falling—almost crying—and the men stood quietly as the crying stick quickly faded into silence.
“What should we do now?” asked a man.
“I don’t know?” said another.
“We should continue hiking,” suggested yet another. “It’s just a hole we must go around.”
“How can we leave this hole?” asked a fourth man. “Why is it here? How did it come to be? We must learn from the hole. Where is the bottom? What can be found there?”
All five men remained standing alongside the hole. The man who suggested they should stay there soon walked close to the rim of the hole and stared down into the void. “Knowing is everything,” he said. Having said that, he took a final step and dropped into oblivion without a sound.
After a while, four men walked away from the hole they had come across in the forest floor. Finally, they knew how men disappeared in the forest.