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Chapter 200 - On premature trust.
200,1. Now I come once again to the Persians and say, turning mainly to Shabbi, “Well, what have you decided in the meantime? Do you still consider Me to be a cunning fox who is only attempting to deliver you all into the merciless hands of the present world leader for punishment because of the Messiah of the Jews, feared by the Romans? Do I seriously resemble such a despicable traitor?”
200,2. A little embarrassed, Shabbi says, “Good, eminent friend! The face is truly mostly a mirror of the soul – but not always! I knew a man whose appearance perfectly resembled the very gentlest and most loyal angel as one healthy eye resembles the other, and yet it was only a natural mask, since the man in question was a complete Satan in OPTIMA FORMA in his soul! This person was even a minion of court thanks to his beautiful and gentle figure and was as enlightened in every thinkable arts and sciences as a most beautiful spring morning; but his soul was blacker and darker than the thickest pagan Styx! Woe betides those who approached him in friendship! Everyone was lost! The female population ran after him as if possessed, although he liked any woman who drew near to him as much as a sacrificial animal, as certainly as a raindrop that the cloud can no longer carry falls on the Earth! But he was constantly the most innocent, gentlest and purest person! Everywhere there were only unforeseen circumstances; but it was remarkable that the unhappy circumstances never affected his own person. He always managed to save his own bacon; only those who drew near to him got to taste the heaviest burden of life and death from the evil circumstances! Oh, he was the most faithful servant for his king, but for every subordinate he was a quite miraculous devil!
200,3. In the regal city a rich Greek, who however let himself be converted to our religion, had a young, beautiful and enormously sweet wife, who was as faithfully devoted to her husband as this right hand of mine is to my body and my will. But it was not long before the cheeky Satan heard news about the beautiful woman and immediately set up a way to be noticed by the beautiful woman. As things would have it, the Greek ended up in a terrible argument with a real Persian in birth and tradition because of a refused repayment of a very significant and justified debt that the Persian had run up with the Greek. The Persian had his like-thinking compatriots as his judges, and so our Greek could not prove his rights over the faithless and promise-breaking Persian. Then the wife, who knew well that this good-looking courtier had often his eyes upon her, said: How about if we could find protection from the king for our good rights through this good-looking courtier? The Greek said: Yes, I know that he has often looked at you with his lustful eyes, and a word from you or from me might do a lot, even if nothing hid behind it but a totally blind hope as reward; but one hears nothing positive about this beautiful courtier! Yes, it would even be better to be his enemy than his friend! Whoever has entered into friendly terms with him came right into a great misfortune! The loss of our demand seems to me therefore a smaller evil between the two, and we would do better to bring the first and smaller one as a sacrifice to the Lord our God.
200,4. The beautiful young wife agreed to this. But a short time later our courtier showed up in the shop of our Greek himself in order to buy something; for our Greek is a jewel trader and sets jewels in gold and silver. He acted very friendly and tenderly and filled the Greek with trust, although the wife noticed very well that she involuntarily became quite afraid of this very dear and otherwise highly splendid and extremely generous person; for it had never happened to her that a person immediately paid the first mentioned price for a jewel without trying to knock down the price. Something else was behind this!
200,5. The Greek, very good in such things, said: Ah, this person must simply have a large number of enviers because of his beauty and modesty and because of his luck at court, who seek to make him out to be a terrible being and suspicious at court; he speaks so soberly and as wisely as a prophet! Truly, there can be nothing terrible behind this person! Not long after our courtier came back to the Greek and bought a large diamond set in gold, for his turban, which the king had given him. The price of the diamond was a hundred pounds of gold, which the courtier also wanted to pay immediately; for he always had a great entourage which had to carry the necessary treasure. But the Greek said to him: Most beautiful, wise and very eminent friend, help me with the cash that N. N. owes me – and this valuable jewel will be yours free! Your word means everything to the great king; I will be thankful to you!
200,6. The courtier said then: Tomorrow your good right will in fact be done; but nevertheless take the gold for this jewel! But since I am doing you a great service without any interest, I demand only a little service from you in return. In seven days I am putting on a great celebration for the king’s birthday in the great paradise garden, and I invite you to this celebration, and you should turn up with your wife in very decorative clothing; I will introduce you to the king and bring you and your wife to the king’s table where you and your wife can then ask a number of graces!
200,7. This seemed very good to the Greek, since he had long been the court jeweler. Yet his wife mentioned: We cannot change things anymore; but very little good will come of it, neither for you and even less for me! This person has evil intentions for me; and it could happen to you that you will be sacrificed at my side! The best thing would be to pack everything up and flee like the wind from here, before the unfortunate seventh day will arrive!
200,8. But the Greek said: Dear wife, caution is good, but to raise too great mistrust against people who have never given you any tangible reason to do so and about whom one knows nothing than what evil tongues have created and spread about them – something which can happen even to an honest man – is just as unwise as condemnable carelessness! The tender wife accepted this very reasonable correction. The following day the indebted Persian had to pay the Greek the last Stater.
200,9. The calamitous seventh day came like an iron fate, and everyone headed to the king’s paradise, dressed most festively. Everything was flame and light, from all sides gold and jewels shone brighter than the brightest stars in the night sky, and music and song floated through the thick leafy alleys of the great garden. But both did not have to wait long before they were discovered by the courtier and immediately led to the king in the great garden temple and received most friendly by the same. In the middle of the great columned temple tables and silk cushions had been brought in a large number and of unspeakable splendor, and on the tables were great gold plates full of the best dishes, and in great crystal beakers tasty wine flickered and also a number of other spiced drinks.
200,10. Our Greek had to take his place at a table beside the great king’s table; but his beautiful wife was immediately drawn to the king’s table. For a time they ate and drank quite comfortably. But our Greek began to feel very unwell; for he got a drink that was mixed with poison, and had to be carried to his house. But the wife was brought to the king’s chambers and had to allow everything to be done to her there until they had had enough of her. The Greek did not die from the poison, it is true, but he remains a paralyzed person to this day; and you can easily imagine how the poor wife looked when she returned home only after seven days!
200,11. That was the fruit of a too hurried trust towards a person whose exterior lent everyone every trust, while his heart was inhabited by a whole horde of the worst devils. But both people who experienced this not long ago are sitting somewhat to the side because of their weakness and can confirm what I have just said! Friend, if one has experienced such things, then one truly knows why one is careful!”
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