The Weeping Emperor

27 06 2013

The Weeping Emperor

Otto the Great, Emperor of Germany visited Rome. On his way home, he passed through the land of Albania where people said a hermit, whose name was Nile, who was renowned throughout the whole country for his holy life, lived. So Otto went to the place where the hermit dwelt.

When he had spoken to Nile for some time, the Emperor rose up to go ; but before leaving he said to him, ” Nile, ask of me whatever you like, just as if you were my own son, and I will give it to you with the greatest joy.”

Nile put his hand on the Emperor s breast, and said, in a solemn voice, ” I ask of you, O Emperor, only one thing, and that is, that you will take care of your soul. Oh yes, I ask you, in the Name of God, to take care of your soul ; for, although you are an Emperor, you must one day die like other men, and will have to give an account to God of everything you have done ; and what will it avail you then if you have lost your soul ?”

When the Emperor heard these words he began to weep, arid, kneeling down at the Nile’s feet, he took the royal crown off his head and answered, ”  I will do what you ask me ; but pray you to God for me, and give me now your blessing.”

When he received the blessing of the Saint he rose up, and, still weeping and sobbing, went away along with those who had accompanied him.

Otto was then only about twenty years old. He had come to that time of life which is full of the greatest dangers. But he always kept in mind the solemn words to Nile, and as soon as any temptation came to trouble him, he remembered his promise, that he would all his lifetime take most care of his soul.

So he led a life of great piety. His prayers were long and fervent, and he gave great alms to the poor. People used to say he was more like an angel in Heaven than a man upon earth. Thus he passed his life, and when the end came he died the death of the Saints, and he is now in Heaven, happy with God, because he followed the advice of  Nile, and took most care of his soul.

 


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