Gesta Romanorum Vol. II (1871)/Of Salvation
Albertus (42) relates, that in the time of Philip there was a pathway leading to two mountains of Armenia, which had long been uninhabited. For the air of that country was so pestilential, that whosoever breathed it, died. The king, therefore, was desirous of ascertaining the cause of the evil, but no one could discover it. At length Socrates was sent for, who requested him to build a mansion equal in loftiness with the mountains. This was done; and the philosopher then constructed a mirror, with a perfectly pure and polished surface, so that from every part the appearance of the mountains was reflected in the glass. Entering the edifice, Socrates beheld two dragons, one upon the mountain, and the other in the valley, which mutually opened their mouths and drew in the air. As he looked, a youth on horseback, ignorant of the danger, wished to pass that way: suddenly he fell from his horse and died incontinently. Socrates went without delay to the king, and declared what he had seen. The dragons were afterwards taken by a specially cunning trick, and instantly slain. Thus the path over these mountains became safe and easy both to horsemen and footmen.
My beloved, the mountains are the noble and powerful of the world; the dragons are pride and luxury. The glass is our Saviour Christ, and the edifice a good life. The young man who perished, is a man killed by vanity. Socrates is a good prelate.
Note 42.Page 219.
Albertus was an abbot of Stade, and author of a Chronicle from Adam to 1256.