Uni and Esar
A realm4 was divided among many princes and kings,5 but one6 was the mightiest, and he was high above them all. But he grieved, for he saw that many of his subjects turned to other lords. Then he chose two men from among his many servants, and they were called Uni and Esar, and he said to them: “Go forth into the land, and seek to win the people for my kingdom and call upon all of them to return; for many have turned away from me.”
Uni and Esar promised to carry out the task entrusted them by the prince.
The prince blessed them and bestowed his Royal Badge upon both, and he promised to reward them according to their work.
Uni and Esar went to their dwellings to prepare for their journey. Uni chose to garb himself in a robe of camel’s hair, he bound wooden sandals under his feet and laid a black cape over his head and his shoulders.
Esar chose to garb himself in splendid raiment; he bound sandals of kidskin under his feet, anointed his hair and laid a scarlet cape about his shoulders.
Thus attired, they walked together on the road, but when they arrived at the city and passed through the gates, each went his own way.
Uni kept the Royal Badge of his lord near his heart.
He walked about in the city, searched out the sick and the grieving, cared for them and spoke uplifting words, and he built for himself a dwelling among the poor. He spoke to them gently and forgave many of the poor the taxes they owed the prince. Many flocked to him and many journeyed from afar to the city to seek comfort and counsel through his words.
Uni spoke kindly and gently to all, and thus he won many to the kingdom of his lord.
Esar tied the Royal Badge of his lord over his brow, and went to the market place to be seen by all. He summoned the people with the flourish of trumpets. He spoke to them sternly and admonished them to obey and submit to the mightiest of all, for great riches should then be their reward. But those who would not follow should be cast into the darkness of prisons and delivered to die.
When the people heard these words they were struck with fear, and many brought Esar the taxes they owed the prince. But many objected, and Esar cast them into prison.
Then the people spoke loudly against him. But Esar went to the temple of the city, searched the ancient laws and interpreted them to the letter. And the people dared not oppose this stern servant of their lord, and they made him their high priest.
But when Uni heard of Esar’s harsh judgments, he went to him and pleaded with him to show mercy. But Esar answered: “I do but my lord’s bidding, and I judge the people according to his own laws.”
Then Uni answered: “All laws can be interpreted with much severity, and all laws can be interpreted with kindness and compassion.”
But Esar turned a deaf ear, and Uni departed with a heavy heart.
Much time had passed. Then the prince sent word to Uni and Esar, bidding them to return and render their accounts.
Uni rejoiced, for he longed to see his lord again. And he summoned the people once more, bade them live in love, peace and tolerance with one another. And he forgave the taxes of still more of the poor, and he promised to plead on their behalf.
Then he quietly took leave of them.
The people grieved much, for they had learned to love and honor Uni because of his kind words and good works.
When Esar received the message from the prince, he sighed deeply, for he wished not yet to leave his splendid mansion and his many riches.
He went to his treasure chamber, counted his gold and said: “All this I have gathered in the name of my lord; truly, I shall be rewarded royally.”
Once more he called the people together, spoke sternly and admonished them to serve obediently the mightiest of all lords, and he warned that he would bring charges against those who had not yet brought him the taxes they owed the prince.
Thereupon he garbed himself in splendid raiment, anointed his hair and laid a scarlet cape about his shoulders. And in a splendid procession his servants followed him. But when they were come to the gate of the city the servants turned back, and Esar was alone!
The people rejoiced greatly at Esar’s departure, for they had learned to fear his cold heart and stern judgments. Many soon turned to other lords, and they dismissed from their thoughts the mightiest of them all.
And it happened that Uni and Esar departed the city at the same time, and they met under the portal. Uni greeted Esar kindly but Esar turned his face away, for he did not wish to know Uni.
And they walked in silence until they reached the princely mansion.
The prince summoned both of them, and Esar stepped forth before the prince—but the prince bade Uni speak first.
Uni bowed deeply and said: “Lord, I kept your Royal Badge close to my heart, I searched out the sick and the grieving, cared for them and uplifted their spirits; I forgave many of the poor their taxes, for I told them that you were a forbearing and compassionate lord. And when I departed, I promised to plead for those whose taxes are due. Lord, if I have done wrong, then punish me but spare the people.”
The prince looked upon him warmly and said: “You spoke kindly and wisely to the people. Truly, your deeds shall be my deeds, your words shall be my words, and I shall surely honor the promises you have given in my name. You were truly a faithful servant, and you shall be rewarded accordingly.”
He called the elders of his council and said: “Accept this man into your midst. From this day forth he shall be the greatest among you.”
The elders of the council greeted Uni, and they took him into their midst. And behold! He was the greatest 7 among them.
And the prince turned to Esar and bade him render his account.
Proudly, Esar bowed to the prince and said: “My lord, I bound your Royal Badge over my brow, that all could see which lord I served. I summoned the people and admonished them to serve you, the mightiest of all lords, to serve you in obedience and in fear; and all who did not pay their taxes I cast into the darkness of prison, and many I delivered to die.
“I searched through the ancient laws and interpreted them to the letter, and I judged the people according to these, your stern laws.
“Lord, in this manner I won many people for your kingdom. Lord, I await the reward you promised to me!”
Then the prince looked sorrowfully upon Esar and said: “My Royal Badge shall not be worn over the brow to be seen by all the world. My Royal Badge shall be kept in the heart, but it shall be seen in every deed.”
“You admonished the people to serve me, the mightiest of lords, in obedience and in fear; but you neglected to speak to them of my forbearance and my compassion. You interpreted the ancient laws in all their severity and you judged the people accordingly; but you neglected to speak to them of the law of love and compassion, the law that stands above all laws. You warned that you would accuse all who did not bring you the taxes owed their lord; but you neglected to teach the people to live together in love, peace, and tolerance. You say that you won many to my Kingdom; but I say that many have turned from me, and many others will turn from me when they remember your stern and cruel words. Truly, you were to me an unfaithful servant, and you shall be rewarded accordingly.”
And the prince called upon the youngest of the council and said: “Take this man into your midst and teach him, for he is the least among you. And when he has learned, then shall he be sent again into the city that he may undo that which he has wrongfully caused.”
Truly, I say to you that this man became the least among all, for he was an unfaithful servant to his lord! Thus the Lord, our Father, weighs the self-righteous against the just of heart. And thus, as you judge others, so will our Father some day judge you.
4) The Earth.
5) Princes and kings — symbolizing the various religions and sects of mankind.
6) God, as representing the religion of love and compassion.
7) The greatest in a spiritual sense.