A FAITHFUL friend is a strong defence: and he that hath found such an one hath found a treasure.
A MAN, his horse and his dog were making their way through a wood.
As they passed beneath a tree, a lightning bolt struck the tree and turned them all to ashes!
But the man didn’t realise that he’d left this world, and continued on his way with his two animal companions. (It’s often the case that some time passes before the dead wake up to their new situation.)
The path was very long, and they were working their way uphill. The sun was beating down, and they were perspiring and thirsty.
At a bend in the road they saw a very beautiful marble gate, which led on to a wide space paved with flags of gold.
The wayfarer made his way to the man guarding the entrance. “Good day.”
“Good day”, replied the guard.
“What do you call this beautiful place?”
“This is Paradise.”
“How lucky we are to stumble on Paradise, when we are thirsty!”
“You, sir, can go in and drink as much water as you please”, said the guard, and pointed to the gate.
“My horse and my dog are thirsty too”.
“I’m very sorry”, said the guard. “But there is no admission for animals here”.
It was with great difficulty that the man declined, since he was very thirsty, but he did not want to be the only one to drink. He thanked the guard, and continued his way.
After they had walked several hours uphill, the three arrived even more exhausted at another place, whose entrance was marked by an old door surrounded by trees. In the shade of a tree sat a man whose head was covered with a hat. Probably asleep.
“Good day,” said the wayfarer. The man nodded his head by way of response.
“My horse, my dog, and I are very thirsty.”
“There is a well among those rocks,” said the man, pointing to the spot. “You can drink as much water as you please.”
The man, the horse and his dog went to the well and quenched their thirst.
The wayfarer came back to thank the man. “You can come back anytime,” he replied.
“Incidentally, what is this place called?” asked the man.
“Paradise? But the guard at the marble entrance told me that that place was Paradise!”
“That wasn’t paradise, but hell, “replied the guard.
The wayfarer was puzzled. “You should forbid them to use your name. Such false information could cause a major mix-up” said the wayfarer.
“By no means,” argued the man. “Actually, it does us a great favour, because anyone capable of deserting his best friends stays right there!”
Translated from the original Greek on the Απόψεις για τη Μονή Βατοπαιδίου blog.