A Day at School
PIPPIN: What is a letter?
ALCUIN: The guardian of the story.
P: What is a word?
A: The traitor who betrays what is in your mind.
P: What gives birth to a word?
A: The tongue.
P: What is the tongue?
A: A whip that beats the air.
P: What is the air?
A: The guard of life.
P: What is life?
A: The joy of the happy, the sadness of the wretched, the expectation of death.
P: What is death?
A: An inevitable event, an uncertain journey, the tears of the living, the confirmation of a will, a robber who steals humankind.
—Translated by Edwin Woodruff Tait from “Debate between the princely and noble youth Pippin and Alcuin the Teacher"
By Edwin Woodruff Tait
[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #108 in 2014]Edwin Woodruff Tait is contributing editor at Christian History.
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