A Roman soldier came to an Egyptian hermit:
— Is there a hell? Is there a paradise? If yes, where are their gates? How can I enter the paradise?
That man was a foot soldier. Soldiers are always simple-minded and clear-thinking. All he knew was life and death. He did not indulge in philosophy: all he wanted to know is where to go to avoid the hell and to get into the paradise.
— Who are you? — the monk asked.
— I’m a Roman soldier, — the soldier replied. — It’s an honor to be a soldier in the Roman army. Only a perfect warrior deserves this position. Even the Emperor pays homage to us.
The monk laughed:
— Are you really a soldier? You look like a wretched beggar!
These words offended the soldier to such an extent that he forgot why he had come to the hermit. He drew out his sword and was about to kill the monk. The monk laughed:
— That’s the Gate of Hell. You will open it with your sword by being angry and proud.
It was an example that the soldier could comprehend. He was ashamed and put his sword back into his sheath… and the monk continued:
— And this is where the Gate of Paradise is.