Saturday, November 08, 2008

Dionysius was in a constant dread and once put his barber to death for boasting that he held a razor to the tyrant’s throat. Many lost their lives to the tyrant and among those that came under the tyranny and distrust of Dionysius was a man called Pythias, who was sentenced to death, according to the usual fate of those who fell under his suspicion. Pythias owned land and had family in Greece, and he entreated Dionysius to do him the favor of allowing him to return home for a specified time after which he would return to face his death. The tyrant laughed his request to scorn. Once safely away who would answer for his return? Pythias made reply that he had a friend, who would become security for his return; and while Dionysius, the miserable man who trusted nobody, was ready to scoff at his simplicity, another friend of Pythias named Damon, came forward, and offered to become surety for his friend, engaging that, if Pythias did not return according to promise, he would suffer death in his stead.
Dionysius, much astonished, consented to let Pythias go, marveling what would happen. Time went on, and Pythias did not appear. The whole town watched Damon, but he showed no uneasiness. He said he was secure of his friend’s truth and honor, and if any accident had caused the delay of his return, he should rejoice in dying to save the life of one so dear to him.
Even to the last day Damon continued serene and content, however it might turn out; nay, even when the very hour drew nigh and still no Pythias. His trust was so perfect, that he did not even grieve at having to die for a faithless friend who had left him to the fate to which he had unwarily pledged himself. "It was not Pythias’ own will, but it must be the winds and waves that prevent him", he still declared, when the decree was brought and the instruments of death made ready. The hour had come, and a few moments more would have ended Damon’s life, when Pythias duly presented himself, embraced his friend, and stood forward himself to receive his sentence, calm, resolute, and rejoiced that he had come in time.
Even the dim hope they owned of a future state was enough to make these two brave men keep their word, and confront death for one another without quailing.
Dionysius the tyrant looked on more struck than ever. He felt that neither of such men must die. He reversed the sentence of Pythias, and calling the two to his judgment-seat, he entreated them to admit him as a third person in their friendship.
Story from "A Book of Golden Deeds". - Photo from internet


Joseph Pulikotil said...

HIi Fred :)

Damon's faith and trust in Pythias is some thing very rare and can hardly be found in this world.

These days people are taught not to trust anyone.

Damon must be really moved by the desparate need of Pythias to meet his family before his death, and had implicit faith in him to return in time.

Very admirable quality of Damon leaves me astounded.

Thanks for sharing this great story.

Have a good day :)

FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
It is so true, to find a faith like Damon's would be rare indeed.
It seems likely if you were to find a loyalty that deep it would be in men that had grown up together and had years of trust.
It is an inspirational story and I think the kind that impacts children and helps them consider the importance of loyalty.
Thanks for your comments,
God bless,