from The Gesta Romanorum or The Tales of the Monks

Tale 144


In the reign of a certain king there happened a sudden change, as from good to evil, from truth to falsehood, from strength to weakness, from justice to injustice.

This fickleness incited the king’s wonder; and inquiring the cause of four of the wisest philosophers, they went after much deliberation, to the four gates of the city, and each inscribed thereon three causes.

The first wrote-”Power is justice; therefore the land is without law. Day is night; therefore there is no pathway through the land. The warrior flees from the battle; therefore the kingdom has no honour.”

The second wrote-”One is two; therefore the kingdom is without truth. The friend is an enemy; therefore the kingdom is without faith. Evil is good; therefore the kingdom is without devotion.”

The third wrote-”Reason is united with licentiousness; therefore the kingdom is without name. A thief is set on high; therefore the kingdom is without wealth. The dove would become an eagle; therefore there is no prudence in the land."

The fourth wrote-”The will is a counselor; therefore the kingdom is ill ordered. Money gives sentence; therefore the kingdom is badly governed. God is dead; therefore the whole kingdom is full of sinners.”

(P.S. If you want to know more about what the Gesta Romanorum is, check it out from the library. If I remember correctly, it is a bunch (technical term) of parables and stories written (or at least collected) by monks around the Middle Ages. It has been about four years since I have checked the book out, and so the details I'm very hazy on. I will try to find out more and post it, but time is not my friend, so...)

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