In this modern-day allegory, Trott (Divorcing Daddy, 1992, etc.) infuses the popular notion of the wise man on the mountain with a keen intelligence and a surprisingly wry humor. Joe runs a hermitage (not a hermitage in the strictest sense, since fellow monks keep him company) atop a mountain in an unnamed country. During the summer months, thousands of hopefuls line the single-file path leading to his door for a chance to bend his ear. Each day during visiting hours, a small, nondescript man opens the door to the next pilgrim in line, asking, ""Yes?"" Invariably, the pilgrim, anxious after such a long wait, replies with a hasty ""I have come to see the holy man."" The man then asks the pilgrim to follow him and takes off at breakneck speed through the house until he reaches a door -- a door that turns out to be the exit leading to the single-file path down the other side of the mountain. When the visitor whines, ""But I have come to see the holy man,"" the monk replies, ""You have seen me."" Most times, he adds, ""If you look on every one you meet as a holy person, you will be happy."" Eventually, the initially stunned pilgrims find the jewel in the monk's words: If everyone deserves to be treated as holy, then they are holy in some way too. If this rings cheesy, it is...and it isn't. Because Trott surrounds the clichâ€šd nuggets of wisdom with sharp wit (the story of the famous man who, in his attempt to bypass the line by stealing the robes of a monk in town for supplies, winds up beating up the holy man himself) and weighty experiences (the drunkard who, while waiting in line for advice, makes the nine-mile journey back into town for more booze so often that he becomes fit enough, physically and mentally, to give up alcohol). Endlessly entertaining and gently profound.