Why War Books and Fabliaux Teach Virtue

I read a lot of books with blood and gore, yet I’m a very non-violent person. I don’t even eat meat, nor do I kill spiders when I see them.

It is the same way that people who read fabliaux can be very virtuous and chaste. I know, strange!

Violent books, particularly about war, often instruct people of the cataclysmic woes of such things. When you read about Paris and all of Troy getting wiped out because of his love for Helen, you suddenly realize how terrible and futile war really is. Hundreds of thousands are dead, and for what?!

Similarly, fabliaux often contain instructive elements on how not to be a dunce. When you read about lusty tricksters you start to realize how lame they really are.

So before you close yourself off to books because they don’t engender your values, think about how you could learn from them by engagement. There is an old saying that you ought to keep your enemies closer than your friends.

The Roman d’Troie, for example, is all about how God punishes the ignorant people who choose their own pride and violent warring over following His precepts. Fabliaux is really just making fun of lusty and greedy people. What is more instructive than that?

There are many different roads to discovery. The main highway is a bit boring, and often full of vanities. The side roads still have many robbers on them. Take your own path through the forest, and you may come to a startling conclusion! The best-hidden mysteries were found not by doing what everyone else does, but by blazing a new trail.