The Teacher of Wisdom (Wilde)

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The Teacher of Wisdom
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man with perfect knowledge of God shared it with others, losing his own faith in the process, and eventually gave away the last of his knowledge to a young robber, gaining perfect love of God.

A young boy, filled with the perfect knowledge of God since childhood, decided to leave his parents and travel the world to spread the knowledge of God. He journeyed through eleven cities, gaining disciples and followers in each city. However, the more people followed him, the greater his sorrow became, as he felt that he was giving away his treasure of knowledge.

The Hermit — man who once had perfect knowledge of God; wise, sorrowful, and self-sacrificing.

One day, he decided to stop talking about God and retreated to a desert, where he lived as a hermit.

I will not talk to you about God. Neither now, nor at any time, will I talk to you about God.

One evening, a young robber with a beautiful but evil face passed by the hermit's dwelling.

The Young Robber — evil and beautiful-faced man; curious, scornful, and materialistic.

The hermit pitied the young man, who demanded to know why. The hermit explained that he pitied the robber because he had no knowledge of God, which was more precious than the purple and pearls the robber carried.

The young robber threatened to kill the hermit if he did not give him the knowledge of God. The hermit refused, and the robber decided to go to the City of the Seven Sins instead. The hermit followed the robber for three days, begging him not to enter the city. The robber agreed not to enter if the hermit would give him the knowledge of God. Finally, the hermit gave in and shared his knowledge with the robber.

After giving away his knowledge, the hermit wept and was visited by a divine figure with feet of brass and hair like fine wool. The figure told the hermit that he would now have the perfect love of God instead of the perfect knowledge of God and comforted him with a kiss.