TRIED AND TRUE ( Clement of Alexandria )
of Macedon, having taken ten of the Indian Gymnosophists, that seemed the
best and most sententious,
proposed to them problems, threatening to put to death him that did not answer to the purpose; ordering one, who
was the eldest of them, to decide.
The first, then, being asked whether he thought that the living were more in number than the dead, said,
The living; for that the dead were not.
The second, on being asked Whether the sea or the land maintained larger beasts, said,
The land; for the sea was part of it.
And the third being asked which was the most cunning of animals?
The one, which has not hitherto been known, man.
And the fourth being interrogated, For what reason they had made Sabba, who was their prince, revolt, answered,
Because they wished him to live well rather than die ill.
And the fifth being asked, Whether he thought that day or night was first, said,
One day. For puzzling questions must have puzzling answers.
And the sixth being posed with the query, How shall one be loved most?
By being most powerful; in order that he may not be timid.
And the seventh being asked, How any one of men could become God? said,
If he do what it is impossible for man to do.
And the eighth being asked, Which is the stronger, life or death? said,
Life, which bears such ills.
And the ninth being interrogated, Up to what point it is good for a man to live? said,
Till he does not think that to die is better than to live.
And on Alexander ordering the tenth to say something, for he was judge, he said,
"One spake worse than another."
Alexander saying, Shall you not, then, die first, having given such a judgment?
he said, And how
O king, wilt thou prove true, after saying that thou wouldest kill first the first man that answered very badly?
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