The monk struck the novice each time he answered poorly, although the novice had been there for ten years, had read a thousand books, and could recite and solve the most complex riddles. Washing his hands with well water, the monk told the novice to read the book of nature before ever presuming to speak or act again. The novice went into the wilderness and lived among beasts and birds. When he returned, the monk asked him what he had heard. The novice answered. It is good to be a stone, for the river washes over it, the reeds cannot choke it, the birds and beasts most often cannot break it, and if they should, one stone becomes other smaller stones, who bathe in rain, sun and wind and wait with the earth in silence and strength. They drove the man and his commentary into permanent exile, but not long after, their monastery burned to the ground, and many monks went up in flames.