Why nobility wins in the long run

In a world where having it all seems to be the only option, when confronted with a choice between nobility and victory many tend to make a very daunting choice. But there’s a story that won’t leave my mind, which since the day I read made me believe that there’s much hope in doing what’s noble even at the most demanding of times.

The Byzantines and Ottomans were at war. After a massive battle, the Ottomans (who were based in Turkey) lost, and a group of remaining Turks barely escaped and fled the battleground back to their homeland. In response the Byzantines sent out an armed group to capture them as hostages. The Turks managed to maneuver fast and were 1 day ahead of the Byzantines but the gap was closing slowly. After days of travelling the Turks stop at a monastery and ask the priest if they can lodge there for the night. The priest agrees and gives them a place to sleep. Being a courteous one the priest also gives them a basket of fruits for the night’s provision. The next morning the Turks thank the priest and leave.

A day later the Byzantine convoy arrive at the same monastery, and ask the priest for the same favour. The priest obliges and offers them the same place to rest and again a basket of fruits for their provision. The next morning the leader of the Byzantines thanks the priest for his kindness and asks him “We are after a bunch of Arabs, with whom we are at war with, have you sighted them crossing this path?”

The priest replies “In-fact a night ago they arrived and asked me for help. I offered them the same place to rest and offered them food” he added “Yet I guarantee you, they will be the ones winning the war”.

The Legion was shocked and angered. “Why would you say this? Are you not a part of the Byzantine empire?”

The pries replied “Indeed I am. But when I gave the Arabs the fruits, they had eaten all the fruits that had gone bad and left the good ones for my provision. When I gave your battalion the fruits you ate the good fruits and left me with the bad. Out of the two they are more noble and nobility wins in the long run.”

Some might argue that the priest was just fussy about people taking his good fruits. But he was right. A few years later the Ottomans won the battle of Constantinople and the Byzantine empire fell.

According to history the Ottomans, at the early stages of their empire, were extremely noble in their endeavors – even in the smallest things like speaking to a stranger or in the way they smiled with people. Nobility was something that played a part in all aspects of the Ottoman lives and assuredly this spread to the more important aspects – including governance, and even war. It is a well-known fact that the Ottoman kings (during the beginning of their golden era) gave rights to all citizens in their lands no matter what their religion, skin colour or gender was. Yet the empire’s decline came when these qualities began to erode. Their governments got corrupt and the foundation of values upon which the empire was built on began to shake. This caused their eventual destruction – following events such as the tragic Armenian Genocide.

Nobility goes a long way. Sustaining an attitude of nobility is the surest way towards lasting success. Losing it is the surest way to destruction. But, unlike governing a country or an empire, it’s much easier to control our deepest values as individuals. Everyone’s out to be successful and in the context where success would mean to have an abundance of provision along with a sound heart – it is this truth that we should not forget. Once you are rooted strongly in Nobility – which includes Honesty, Respect, Integrity, Loyalty, Fairness, Conscientiousness, Hard Work, Self-Control, Self-Respect, and Charity it is inevitable that success will be an eventual result.


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