Gesta Romanorum Vol. II (1871)/Of the same subject
OF THE SAME SUBJECT.
We read in the Lives of the Fathers, that an angel shewed to a certain holy man, three men, labouring under a triple fatuity. The first made a fagot of wood, and because it was too heavy for him to carry, he added to it more wood, hoping by such means to make it light. The second, drew water with great labour from a very deep well with a sieve, which he incessantly filled. The third, carried a beam in his chariot; and wishing to enter his house, the gate was so narrow and low that it would not admit him. Whereupon he violently whipped his horse until they both fell together into a deep well. Having shewn this to the holy man, the angel said, "What think you of these three men?" "That they are three fools," answered he. "Understand, however," returned the angel, "that they represent the sinners of this world. The first describes that kind of men who from day to day add new sins to the old, because they cannot bear the weight of those which they already have. The second man represents those who do good, but do it sinfully, and therefore it is of no benefit. And the third person, is he who would enter the kingdom of heaven with all his worldly vanities; but is cast down into hell.