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Once upon a time there was a Grumpy Saint, who thought that all the world were sinners, himself included. He lived in a little cabin by the roadside, and his life was a burden to him on account of the passers-by.
They gave him no peace. Now it was a poor man asking for food.
"Go along with you!" said the Grumpy Saint. "It is an abomination to feed sturdy beggars like you."
And he gave the man his dinner, and went hungry.
Again, it was an old woman, creeping along the road, bent double under a heavy burden.
"Shame on you!" said the Grumpy Saint. "Why are you not at home, tending your fire, instead of gadding along the road in this fashion?"
And he took the burden, and carried it all the way to the woman's house, and came back grumbling.
Still again it was a child, who had lost its way and came crying to his door.
"Please take me home!" said the child.
"You should not have come out!" said the Saint. "Where is your home?"
"Miles away!" said the child. "And I am tired; please carry me!"
"Stuff and nonsense!" said the Saint. "Don't talk to me!"
And he wrapped the child in his own coat (for it was winter), and carried him miles through the snow to his home; and then trudged back again, but without the coat, for the folk were poor.
And so it went on.
One day the Grumpy Saint died, and went to Heaven, a place in which he had never believed. As he entered that country, the first person he met was an Angel, with a bright gold aureole round her head, and in her hand a staff of lilies.
"Welcome!" said the Angel. "Welcome, dear and great saint! I am sent to greet you, and lead you to the feast that is making in your honor."
"Some mistake!" said the Grumpy Saint. "I don't know what you are talking about, and I don't like play-acting. What place is this?"
"This is Heaven!" said the Angel.
"Nonsense!" said the Saint. "I don't believe in Heaven."
"Yes, but you are in it," said the Angel, "which is of more consequence."
"And who may you be?" asked the Saint. "I seem to know your face."
"Yes!" said the Angel. "I am the old woman you helped with the burden; don't you remember? the rest are waiting inside, all the people whom you loved and helped. Come with me!"
"I don't know what you are talking about!" said the Saint. "But if I am to go with you, first take off that ridiculous object on your head! I don't like play-acting, I tell you, and I have never believed in this kind of thing."
The Angel smiled; and leading him to a clear pool that lay beside the road, bade him look in. He looked, and saw two white-clad figures bending over the water, and round the head of each the shining circle.
"Bless my soul!" cried the Grumpy Saint. "I've got one too!"
"To be sure!" said the Angel.
"Preposterous!" said the Grumpy Saint.
|Art of Worldly Wisdom Daily|
In the 1600s, Balthasar Gracian, a jesuit priest wrote 300 aphorisms on living life called "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." Join our newsletter below and read them all, one at a time.
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