ONCE upon a time there was a man who, whenever he returned from hearing a sermon preached, began to murmur at the preachers, saying that they did nothing but afflict the mind and sadden people, by speaking to them of dangers, evils, and penalties; that was not his plan, he liked to speak only of virtues and rewards, and such things, seeming to fancy that one went to a sermon as to a comedy, in order to be diverted.
It came to pass that this man went on a journey, taking a large sum of money with him. He arrived with his servant at an inn where they rested for the night.
Whilst supper was being served to the master in his room, the servant, who had remained in the kitchen, heard some folks say that, in order to reach the place whither they were travelling, one had a choice of two roads, one long, bad, and painful to travel, but secure, and another level, short, and picturesque; but dangerous on account of its being infested by thieves and malefactors.
The servant, who knew that his master did not like warnings nor anything that would disturb him, did not mention a word to him about what he had heard; but when the following day arrived, without any further question, took the short and level road.
They had not proceeded far when they were met by some malefactors, who, after robbing and illtreating them, left them naked and tied to some trees on the verge of a precipice.
“Alas!” cried the servant, “well did I know the dangers and disastrous end that awaited us by this road!”
“Then, if you knew it, wretch,” replied his master, “how was it that you did not caution me, and advise me of the dangers we were running into?”
“It was, sir,” answered the servant, “because I have always heard you say that those who spoke of dangers, evils, and penalties, did nothing but afflict the mind and sadden people.”