At first, Feel did not realise this. He was a life scholar, content to be learning empathy and sharing this with his brothers. Over time, word spread of his gift, 'Seek him, confide in him. He is compassionate.' the rumour said. Each who told now wanted their story acted out in front of an audience. Feel didn't resist, he saw no harm in this. It wasn't fair to keep these lessons to himself. He reasoned that in passing these stories on, people would learn from one another's experiences.
Night after night Feel performed to growing crowds with his brothers seated around him. He was revered and given the best of everything. His ego grew and he believed it. His storytelling changed; he ridiculed the tellers and became insensitive. One by one, his senses began to desert him. Blinded by his wealth, his eyesight faded. He was blind to people's suffering. His hearing grew weak as he listened only to what he wanted to hear. He was deaf to people's suffering. His speech became judgemental and opinionated. He missed out pages of the script and invented others, possessed by his own self-importance. His voice, once rich, became hoarse, then silent. He could no longer speak of people's suffering. He was unable to put himself in others' shoes. He had felt too much and then not enough as people applauded him. He was numb to people's suffering. His followers left him. His brothers disowned him. He lost everything. Dead inside, Feel was shunned and forgotten.
His disgrace led to See, Hear and Speak spreading their own messages about communicating with evil. They quickly became known as the 'Three Wise Monkeys'. Their carved statues now inhabit homes, but each of their messages has been misinterpreted:
See No Evil: Do not be blind to people's suffering, see it.
Hear No Evil: Do not be deaf to people's stories, hear it.
Speak No Evil: Do not be silent to your voice, speak it.
If the fourth brother had been remembered, his message would be the wisest of them all:
Feel No Evil: Do not be numb to people's images, thoughts, words and experiences, feel it.
The moral of this unknown fable is: Do not lose your empathy. Feel and forgive.