Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Deadly Foe

I have been reading in a book titled, "Plain Living and High Thinking". In the chapter on chivalry and obedience, I found this story interesting.

"Take another illustration of the way in which chivalry shows itself from the annals of the Knights of St. John. At one time during their residence in Rhodes, the island was infested by a monster -- it is not know whether it was some huge crocodile or python -- which had made many victims. Several knights had attempted its destruction, but as all had perished, the Grand Master commanded that the grisly creature should be let alone. To one young knight this order was very grievous, as he longed to kill the monster which had caused the loss of so many lives, and hoped thereby to gain great favour. So secretly he made a model of it, and trained two young mastiffs to fly at the belly, which was known to be unprotected by scales, while he mounted his war-horse and accustomed it to the sight of the strange and laidly foe. His preparations completed, he rode out towards the haunt of the dragon, and when it made its appearance, set his brave dogs upon it to divert its attention, and after a desperate struggle smote it in the undefended parts and killed it. As soon as his victory was known, the people of Rhodes went forth to do him honor, and conducted him in triumph to the Grand Master's palace. But there his reception was of the coldest. The Grand Master, turning upon him a grave brow and a stern eye, demanded of him what was the first duty of a Christian Knight. Helim, with his cheek aflame, murmured, "Obedience." The Grand Master proceeded to do justice to the admirable courage of his achievement, but declared that by disobeying his command he had bred a deadlier foe than his hand had killed -- the spirit of contumacy (obstinate or perverse opposition to authority) and disorder.

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