After leaving Jerusalem and traversing into and out of the Mountains of Darkness, Alexander of Macedon found himself in a new, unpopulated, gorgeous land.
His soldiers caught fish in a crystal clear river. After cutting up the fish, soldiers took their fish to the river to clean it. Miraculously, in the water, the fish reassembled itself and swam away.
Initially skeptical, Alexander experienced the regenerated fish and determined the river was one of Paradise’s River of Life. He commanded all of his sick and wounded soldiers to bath in the river.
Alexander and his troops decided to follow the river to the Garden of Eden. The wide, lush valley ultimately became narrower and narrower. Finally, it became so narrow that only people in single file could tread the pathway following the river. Only Alexander and several generals proceeded on foot.
“Mountains, thickly covered with greenest verdure, towered up on either side, the silent river narrowed until it seemed a mere streak of silver flowing gently along, and there was a delicious odor in the air.”
Finally, at the merging of the two mountain walls, a rock wall barred the men’s forward journey. The River of Life escaped Eden through a tiny crevice. Next to the river’s trickle, a gloriously ornamented golden door stood.
Alexander at Eden’s Door
Alexander stood before the glorious door and, with the hilt of his drawn sword, walloped the Gate of Paradise.
After no response to his first and second strikings, Alexander pounded impatiently a third time.
Then the door slowly opened, and a figure in white stood in the entry. In its hand it held a skull, made of gold, with eyes of rubies.
“Who knocks so rudely at the Gate of Paradise?” asked the angel.
“I, Alexander, the Great, of Macedon, the conqueror of the world,” answered Alexander, proudly. “I demand admittance to Paradise.”
“Hast thou brought peace to the whole world that thou sayest thou art its conqueror?” demanded the angel.Alexander made no answer.
“Only the righteous who bring peace to mankind may enter Paradise alive,” said the angel, gently.
Alexander hung his head abashed; then, in a voice broken with emotion, he begged that at least he should be given a memento of his visit.
The angel handed him the skull, saying: “Take this and ponder o’er its meaning.”
The angel vanished and the golden door closed.
When Alexander realized the gift was just bone, he angrily threw it to the ground. One of his men asked if they could weigh the skull. Alexander agreed.
Out came the scales. On one side, the skull sat. They filled the other side with gold. But despite the amount of gold on the scale, the bone always outweighed it.
Alexander found a wise man. The wise man covered the eyes of the skull with dirt. Suddenly, the skull lost its hold on the balance! The determined meaning was that until dust covered man’s eyes, nothing can satisfy him. And only after death can he hope to enter Paradise.
Alexander arranged to leave the area right away. The River of Life enticed many soldiers, however, who decided they would stay and inhabit the beautiful, fruitful valley.
Unfortunately, morning’s light shone on a desolate valley surrounded by exposed rocky mountains and without any trace of the River of Life. Disconsolate, the army took their leave.