Two monks try to argue, but fail

Pocket Bard’s notes: I think this one is hilarious. The idea that you’ve got two guys who just can’t seem to figure out how to fight strikes me as absurd, but what the heck. The story is taken from the Lives of the Fathers, which I take it is some sort of teaching book of parables, so I give it a lot of leeway. Still, I wish I could live with someone like that.

Two monks try to argue, but fail
The Golden Legend, Volume II, trans. William Granger Ryan, p.354

[T]here were two monks who lived together for many years and could never be provoked to anger. Once one of them said to the other: “Let’s have a quarrel, the way men of the world do!” The other monk replied: “I don’t know how to start a quarrel!” Said the first: “I put a tile on the table between you and me, and I say: ‘This tile is mine!’ Then you say:  ‘No, it’s mine!’ And that’s the way to start a quarrel.” So the brother set a tile between them. One of them said: “This tile is mine!” The other said: “No, it’s mine!” The first said: “Oh, all right, it’s yours. Take it with you!” And off they went, unable to generate a quarrel between them.


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