Alexander the Great and a Fair Judgment

Alexander the Great set out across the Mountains of Darkness led by a certain pearl which gave light before him. Now the king of the lands to be found there came to meet Alexander and honored him greatly and did whatever he desired. One day as the two kings sat together with their crowns on their heads, two men appeared before the king. And one of them said to him: “By your leave, my lord, I purchased a certain piece of land from this man and wished to erect a building on it. When I began digging, I found a very great treasure hidden there. So I said to him: ‘Take you the treasure because I only purchased the land from you, but the treasure I did not buy.’ “

Alexander the Great in Synagogue Mosaic

Then the other said to the king: “By your leave, my lord, when I sold my land I sold him all that was to be found therein from the nethermost deeps to the heights of the sky. And just as he does not wish to rob or steal, so I too do not wish to rob or steal.”

Then the king said to one of them: “Have you a son?” “Yes, my lord,” said he. And he asked the other: “Have you a daughter?” And he answered: “Yes, my lord.”

Then the king said: “Give your son to his daughter, and give the whole treasure to both of them!” And so they did.

Alexander laughed, for it seemed strange to him. “Why are you laughing?” the king asked him. “Have I not judged well? Have I not done well?” Then Alexander answered: “You have judged well and done well. But in my kingdom I would not have judged in that way.” “And how would you have judged?” asked the king; and Alexander said: “If it had happened in my kingdom, the king would have slain them both and taken all the money.”

Then the king of those lands said to him in astonishment: “Does the sun shine in your kingdom?” “Yes,” said he. And the king asked again: “Do you have cattle and sheep and goats in your kingdom?” “Yes,” said he. Then the king said to him: “It is only because of the cattle that the people live and find sustenance.” Just as it is written: “Man and beast the L-rd will aid” (Ps. 36:7).

 Based on Sefer Alexander haMokdoni

Y. Bava Metzia II 8c and Bava Metzia 32b

May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)

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