Gesta Romanorum Vol. II (1871)/Of the Perversity of the World

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Gesta Romanorum Vol. II  (1871) 
Anonymous, translated by Charles Swan
Of the Perversity of the World



We read in a certain book of a conversation between Jesus Christ and St. Peter. "I saw," said the latter, "five men whom I thought madmen. The first eat the sand of the sea so greedily, that it slipt through his jaws on either side of the mouth. Another I observed standing upon a pit full of sulphur and pitch, of which the smell was intolerable; yet he strove earnestly to inhale it. The third lay upon a burning furnace, whose heat was not enough: he endeavoured to catch the sparks emitted from the furnace that he might eat them. A fourth sat upon the pinnacle of the temple in order to catch the wind. For this purpose he held his mouth open. The fifth, devoured whatsoever of his own members he could get into his mouth, and laughed incessantly at every other. Many beheld these five men; and much wondered why they did these things."


My beloved, the first of these men represents the covetous; the second, the gluttonous and luxurious; the third, the rich and honorable; the fourth, the hypocrites; and the fifth, are the calumniators of the good.