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Envy Burns Itself

TALHAIARN, a learned and wise bard, had a son named Tanwyn, who, when he arrived at man's estate, was desirous of leaving his father's house and seeking his fortune in the world. Talhaiarn said to him, "My son, I have neither gold nor silver to give thee, but I have instructed thee in all useful learning and becoming conduct. There is no need to give thee further counsel except what I now say to thee, namely, 'Pass not by any man who preaches God's word without stopping to listen."

After receiving his father's blessing, Tanwyn departed. After travelling a considerable way, he came to a long and even beach by the seaside, and with the point of his staff he wrote on the sand, "Whoso wishes evil to his neighbour, to himself will it come." After he had passed on his way, it chanced that a wealthy and powerful nobleman saw the writing on the sand. He overtook Tanwyn and asked him, "Was it thou that didst write on the sand?" "Yes," answered Tanwyn. "Let me," said the nobleman, "see thee writing again." "I will do so," said Tanwyn, and he wrote, "Man's best candle is discretion." "Whither art thou going?" asked the nobleman. "Into the world to earn my livelihood," said Tanwyn. "Thou art the man I want," said the nobleman; "wilt thou come with me and be my steward, to manage my household and my property?" "I will," said Tanwyn, and he went to live with the nobleman.

He performed his duties with such wisdom and. good will and justice that all who came to visit the nobleman praised the new steward greatly. In the course of time Tanwyn's fame for discretion and honourable dealing aroused his master's envy. The more men lauded Tanwyn, the more envious did the nobleman become, until he at last took counsel with his lady about putting him to death. She in her love for her lord bethought her of a way to compass Tanwyn's destruction. The nobleman had on his estate some lime-burners: the lady went to them and promised them a great sum of money if they would throw into the kiln the first man who should come to them with a vessel of mead. She told her lord of her stratagem, and the two, filling a large vessel with mead, ordered Tanwyn to take it to the limeburners. Tanwyn took the vessel and carried it towards the kiln. On the way he heard in a house the voice of an old and godly man preaching the word of God, and according to his father's instruction turned into the house and listened for a considerable time to the preacher's words.

Meanwhile, the nobleman concluding that by that time Tanwyn must be reduced to ashes, proceeded to the kiln with another vessel of mead as a reward to the lime. burners. When he arrived there, he was seized by the lime-burners and thrown into the fire, where he perished miserably. Thus did envy burn itself.

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