Two passages I liked from my recent reading. One short, one long. One sacred, one enjoyably profane.
"During the summer of 1585, [King Henry III of France]'s mother, Catherine de Medicis, a brilliant diplomat despite being in her sixty-seventh year and riddled with syphilis..."
The Pope and The Heretic* by Michael White, pg 83
"...one of the Buddha's disciples went to him and asked to be shown Heaven. The Buddha said, "If you want to see Heaven, you will have to see Hell first." The disciple agreed. The Buddha took them to Hell, when an enormous banquet table was set up, piled high with fabulously delicious food. Unfortunately, all of the diners had, instead of hands, enormously long forks on the end of their wrists, and they kept trying to get the food into their mouths, but could not reach them. They wailed and gnashed their teeth in misery. The Buddha then took his disciple to Heaven. Heaven was exactly the same situation -- diners at a sumptuous banquet table, with long forks on their wrists instead of hands. The only difference was that, in Heaven, everyone was feeding each other."
2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl by Daniel Pinchbeck, pg 330-1
*No, it's not a romance novel.