The Book of Carmi

Note: The following story is an Aesop fable re-written in the English style of the King James Version of the Bible.

Now it came to pass, that Carmi the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was a-dying, and he called his sons unto him, and he said unto them: Behold, I am old, and well stricken in age, and it shall come to pass, that when I die, ye shall forget all the commandments which I have given you: and shall go after your own way, seeking not to remain in the way of your fathers: but ye shall war one with another: and it shall come to pass, that whosoever findeth ye shall overcome you.  Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.

And the man Carmi had bound together a sheaf of arrows. And he commanded them that they should take up the arrows; for he wished to show somewhat unto his sons. And the son which was the son of the birthright took them up, and he said unto his father: What mean these arrows?

And behold, the arrows were bound up together as a sheaf of wheat: and Carmi said to his sons: Behold, I have done this to prove you, to see whether or not ye shall understand: for ye must break the arrows: and if ye cannot, yea, even if ye fail to do as I have commanded you: then shall I break them: and ye shall know that this thing is not altogether too difficult for any man. But his sons believed him not: nevertheless they tried.

And the son of whom was the birthright took them up: and he tried to perform all that his father had said, even all that he had commanded them; but the thing was too hard for him: therefore he gave it unto his brother.

And his brother also tried: and did not succeed; likewise tried all the sons of Carmi, and succeeded not.

Then they gave the arrows to their father, and they said unto him: Behold, this thing which thou hast commanded is too hard for us, and we cannot do as thou has commanded us: and, lo, we ask thee to show us how this thing is done.

And their father said unto them: Pass me the arrows. And they did so.

Now the man Carmi was noted through all the land of the provinces for his wisdom wherewith he was blessed: and he was ready in all points to answer his sons. And he took the arrows, and he removed them out of the binding. Then said Carmi again unto his sons: Behold how the thing is done. And he took up one of the arrows, and broke it with ease: whereupon he took up the other arrows; which he had left; and he broke them in the sight of all his sons.

Notwithstanding this was of a purpose to show his sons what he had wished to say unto them. For which cause he said unto them: I perceive that ye do understand this day what I have wished to show unto you, and how it is that ye must not war one with another: for upon this rests your end. For two are better than one: for if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not easily broken. And he said moreover unto them: Behold how lovely it is when brethren dwell together in unity!


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