220 When the king had applauded loud and long in the most gracious way, the guests were urged to seek repose. So when the conversation ceased, they devoted themselves to the next course of the feast.

221 On the following day, the same arrangement was observed, and when the king found an opportunity of putting questions to the men, he questioned the first of those who had been left over 222 for the next interrogation, What is the highest form of government? And he replied, ‘To rule oneself and not to be carried away by impulses. For all men possess a certain natural bent of mind. 223 It is probable that most men have an inclination towards food and drink and pleasure, and kings a bent towards the acquisition of territory and great renown. But it is good that there should be moderation in all things. What God gives, that you must take and keep, but never yearn for things that are beyond your reach.’

224 Pleased with these words, the king asked the next How he could be free from envy? And he after a brief pause replied, ‘If you consider first of all that it is God who bestows on all kings glory and great wealth and no one is king by his own power. All men wish to share this glory but cannot, since it is the gift of God.’

225 The king praised the man in a long speech and then asked another How he could despise his enemies? And he replied, ‘If you show kindness to all men and win their friendship, you need fear no one. To be popular with all men is the best of good gifts to receive from God.’

226 Having praised this answer the king ordered the next man to reply to the question, How he could maintain his great renown? and he replied that ‘If you are generous and large-hearted in bestowing kindness and acts of grace upon others, you will never lose your renown, but if you wish the aforesaid graces to continue yours, you must call upon God continually.’