The True Mother
Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her
son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other
said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.
Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.
Thus was the truth flushed out by a lie, the great irony of this parable. And yet the King is considered wise for his means as well as his ends. The lesson of the tale transcends his approach, however - it is the true mother's sacrifice that prevents the child from being killed. Unlike the deceiving claimant, it is more important to her that her baby survive than that it be hers. Her love of human life overcomes her personal emotional involvement, though no mention is made of her rival's mental state, doubtless turmoiled by grief following the death of her own son. But suffering is our lot; it is no excuse for selfish action, when love transcending suffering and selfishness is the path that we have inherited.