How the Book of the Black Prince came to be

Once the Black Prince saw that his men were long of face and heavy of heart. When he bade them tell him why, they spoke thus.

"We grow old and wealthy under your good leadership, indeed, surely in all the history of the world none such as we have prospered so, for so few deaths, but our deeds are not such as the bards sing of, or such as are written in the sagas. When we are gone no one will remember us; we will be as dust blowing in the desert wind."

The Black Prince pondered on this a little while, then he smiled and addressed his men thus.

"Oh foolish children, beloved brothers, the remedy is in your very complaint. You complain that you grow old and rich: Is it not the rich who choose which histories will be written? Is it not the old who know the tales future generations will love to hear?

"In your old age and wealth, pay some good cleric to write up your history in a saga, or in one of the new books such as the monks are making. Have it copied many times and place copies in the great libraries, especially those most likely to persist through time, such as those of the Church of Christ.

"But I give you this advice, do not bend the truth too much, nor boast excessively, for it is Truth, your sins as much as your noble deeds, that carries best down the ages. Truly, if you relate your sins, especially those of the carnal type, well and in detail, generations of scholars will love your books and they will outlast kingdoms.

"Also, remember to mention our brothers who have fallen before us."

At this the men's hearts filled with joy and they wondered at the wisdom of their beloved leader. All that he advised they did, as did the Black Prince.


From The Book of the Black Prince: Sayings of the Black Prince
Editor Stephen Heyer
Copyright Stephen Heyer


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