The Doer of Good (Wilde)

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The Doer of Good
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A healer encountered people he had helped, only to find them indulging in sinful lives, while another, whom he had raised from the dead, wept for his lost peace.

One night, a man found himself alone and approached a round city. As he neared the city, he heard joyful sounds and laughter coming from within. He knocked on the gate, and the gatekeepers let him in. Inside, he saw a beautiful house made of marble with torches of cedar lighting the way. He entered the house and walked through various halls until he reached a long hall of feasting.

In the hall, he saw a young man lying on a couch, his hair crowned with red roses and his lips red with wine.

The Leper — once healed by the Healer; indulging in a luxurious lifestyle.

The man touched the young man's shoulder and asked him why he lived like this.

Why do you live like this?

The young man recognized him and replied that he was once a leper, and the man had healed him, so how else should he live?

The man left the house and went back into the street. After a while, he saw a woman with a painted face and pearl-adorned feet, followed by a young man wearing a cloak of two colors.

The Sinful Woman — once forgiven by the Healer; continuing her sinful ways.
The Blind Man — once given sight by the Healer; lustful and captivated by a woman.

The young man's eyes were filled with lust as he looked at the woman. The man touched the young man's hand and asked him why he looked at the woman in such a way. The young man recognized him and replied that he was once blind, and the man had given him sight, so what else should he look at?

The man then touched the woman's painted clothes and asked her if there was no other way to walk except the way of sin.

Is there no other way in which to walk save the way of sin?

The woman recognized him, laughed, and said that he had forgiven her sins, and the way was a pleasant way.

After leaving the city, the man saw a young man weeping by the roadside.

The Dead Man — once raised from the dead by the Healer; weeping and mourning.

He approached him, touched his long hair, and asked him why he was weeping. The young man looked up, recognized him, and answered that he was once dead, and the man had raised him from the dead, so what else should he do but weep?