Wisdom story: When a promise of loyalty gets you in trouble
A long time ago, in a kingdom far away, there lived two knights who knew each other since they were little boys. The first one was very smart, and the second one was kind of stupid. The first knight always thought through his actions and considered the consequences those actions may bring, while the second knight just did what he felt like doing, no matter the consequences. That kind of behavior caused a lot of trouble for him, well for both of them almost every time. Nevertheless, they were friends for as long as they could remember and they gave each other a promise of loyalty. A promise that neither of them will leave the other or let the other go alone into harm’s way. For as long as they can remember the smart knight always decided for both of them what they were going to do and the second knight did the more dangerous work. They made a good team, fought many battles, charmed many women, and had many stories to tell from their adventures. Then one day while hunting they came across a stranger who had already caught a deer and invited them to join him for dinner, which they did.
And while eating the carefully prepared dinner the traveler told them about two special cities in his kingdom. He admitted that he has never been to either of them, but he knew people who know people who went there. The rumor has it that the ones who reached the first city were always presented with an abundance of treasures. While the ones who went to the second city never came back. The traveler looked at the two knights with a smile and said, “There must be a reason for all of those people to stay there and not go to the city that promises treasure.” The traveler added that the road to the first city was a long and dangerous one. In fact, there were many bandits blocking the way from the very beginning. It was necessary to fight them to make the journey to the city. But to travel to the other city It was a fairly straight road convenient for any traveler. And at the beginning of this road stood some knights who met each traveler with food and wine and if needed provided security.
For the first time, the two knights couldn’t agree about which choice they want to make. And the discussion between them became so heated that they almost forgot about their promise of loyalty that they made so many years ago. 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 unimaginable wealth. Seeing how both roads started, however, his friend replied that he preferred to believe his eyes and not the rumors and that they would most probably benefit more from going to a city where no one wants to leave. So, he insisted to go down the other road where there were nice people already at the start. The reasonable knight remembered his promise of loyalty and agreed with his friend. The knights couldn’t believe their luck as they enjoyed all kinds of pleasures on their way to the second city.
But, the minute they got there, they were tied up and brought before a crowd of people which was lead by a council. They were accused of stealing since they indulged themselves in everything on the road but paid for nothing, and even when they came to the city they had no gold to pay for it. They were sentenced to death, but before they would be executed they would get a chance to explain themselves and maybe find a solution that would be acceptable to the council. Immediately 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 council 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 gone along with him. As you have heard we made a promise of loyalty many years ago.”
The council was not moved by their words and decided that both knights were to hang. The smart knight will be hanged because he easily succumbed to the foolishness of his friend, and the stupid knight would be hanged for not believing the words of his friend.
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What lesson did you get out of this story?