OF THE PITIFUL 121
And likewise the sinners and bad consciences! Be- lieve me, my friends : remorse of conscience teacheth to bite.
But the worst are petty thoughts. Verily, it is still better to act wickedly than to think pettily.
True ye say : ' The pleasure derived from petty wick- edness saveth us many a great wicked deed.' But here folk should not try to save.
Like an ulcer is an evil deed : it itcheth and scratch- eth and breaketh forth, it speaketh honestly.
' Behold, I am disease ' saith the evil deed : that is its hqnesty.
But the petty thought resembleth a fungus : it creep- eth and cowereth and wisheth to be nowhere until the whole body is rotten and withered with small fungi.
Unto him who is possessed by the devil I say this word into his ear : ' It is better for thee to bring up thy devil. Even for thee there is a way unto greatness ! '
Alas, my brethren ! Of everybody one knoweth a little too much. And many a one becometh transparent for us ; but for that reason we are by no means able to penetrate him.
It is difficult to live with men, because silence is so difficult.
And we are most unjust not unto him who is contrary to our taste, but unto him who doth not concern us in any way.
But if thou hast a suffering friend, be a couch for his