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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