Don’t Look for the Guilty One – A Cautionary Tale About Friendships

A long time ago, in a kingdom far away, there lived two knights who befriended each other. The first one was smart, and the second one stupid. Nevertheless, they gave each other a promise of loyalty – that neither of them will leave the other in good times or in need, and that they will share everything among them equally.

There were two cities in this kingdom. And people were saying that the ones who reached the first city were always presented with an abundance of treasures, and those who got to the second city never came back. However, the road to the first city was a long and dangerous one. In fact, there were many warriors blocking its way at its very beginning. It was necessary to fight them to make your way to the city. It was a fairly straight road to the second city, convenient for any traveller. At the beginning of this road, there stood three knights who met each traveller with kindness, in addition to food and wine.

The smart knight tried to persuade his friend that it was best for them to go down the difficult road, since it was supposed to lead them to a city of unknown wealth. Seeing how both roads started, however, his friend replied that he preferred to believe his eyes, and not the rumours. So, he insisted to go down the other road.

The reasonable knight remembered his promise of loyalty and said to him:

– OK, then. But I will not let you go alone. I’ll come with you.

The knights enjoyed all kinds of pleasures for both their bodies and souls on the way to the second city. But, the minute they got there, they were tied up and brought to a judge, who, after sentencing them to death, gave each one a final opportunity for justification.

The smart knight put all of the blame on his stupid friend, who, despite all the warnings, chose the wrong way. He, being reasonable, wanted to go the other way, but had to follow his friend because of the promise of loyalty.

When the judge gave the word to the stupid knight, he didn’t hold back and blamed his smart friend for following him:

“If my smart friend hadn’t followed me, but decided to go down the road he originally wanted to, I would have certainly turned back and went along with him – because of the promise of loyalty we had given to each other.”

Both knights were hanged. The smart one because he easily succumbed to the foolishness of his friend, the stupid one for not believing the words of his smart friend.


The Lesson

  • Everyone must find his own way. But choose wisely the people who will make you company along the road. After all, you might have to pay for the company yourself.



  • Medieval Latin Novels of the XIII century. Ed. AI Dovatur. L., 1980
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