Once upon a time, a wise man called Absolom lived in the Kingdom of Fiath. He was so wise that he was always right. He never erred and the people made him the high priest and supreme judge of Fiath. He was a perfect priest and undeviating judge, but he was also impatient. He never explained his point of view, nor justified his judgments. Whenever someone inquired about a judgment or opinion, he responded: “I don’t have time for this,” and had the inquirer beheaded.
People didn’t like the beheadings, but it was too late, They could not dispose of Absolom because he was the most powerful man in the kingdom. Also, Absolom was always right, his judgments were just, and the kingdom was at peace. Absolom was very old and his days numbered, so people maintained their patience and kept their mouths shut.
One day, a young monk, just shy of seventeen years, failed to understand an instruction. When he asked for clarification, Absolom misunderstood and the poor lad lost his head the very same day.
In the evening, the vice priest visited Absolom in the main temple. “Supreme Wisenheimer,” he said, “I know that I may lose my head today, but I shall talk to you. I have served you all my life and never questioned your judgments and opinions. I won’t do it today, but I need to bring something to your attention.”
“What is it, vice priest?” Absolom had finished his dinner and was enjoying an excellent wine. He was a little more patient than usual.
“Today you had a young monk beheaded who was just seeking understanding.”
“He didn’t question me?” Absolom looked up, his eyes widened.
“I don’t think so.”
“That’s very regrettable. Please take care of his family, will you? Give them anything they ask for.”
“I will, High Priest. But that wasn’t the reason I wanted to talk to you.”
“What else is there?”
“You are always right, but what if…?” he kneads his hands.
“Speak your mind!”
“Your days are numbered. What will become us when you’re gone? I mean, nobody knows what is right and wrong. You never explained anything. The wisdom of right and wrong will die with you.”
“Hmm … you have a point there,” Absolom mumbled and turned silent. The vice priest excused himself. Absolom emptied his glass of wine and went to the library. He stayed there all night, wondering how close death was and what the future of his kingdom should be.
In the morning, he called the vice priest.
“What can I do for you?” the vice priest asked.
“I retire. Now you are the high priest and supreme judge,” Absolom declared.
“Why? I am not wise enough.”
“If I reconsider I have to behead you, since you question my decision.”
“I accept.” The vice priest replied quickly. What will you do?”
“I will dedicate the coming weeks to write a book, so that when I’m gone, you and the other people will know what’s right and wrong.”
And so, the High Priest locked himself in his chamber and wrote a book. In that book, he put what is right and what is wrong. It became known as the 101 Commandments. Absolom did not eat nor sleep until he finished the book. Then, he laid down on his bed and died.
People called the 101 Commandments the book of books, and erected a memorial for Absolom. As as all books, the 101 Commandments bore the author’s spirit, and it neither explained its point of view, nor justified its judgments. And though Absolom had long since died, all people who questioned the book were beheaded. And their number became legion.
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