This is an amazing account from Mark Buchanan. It is a strange story that illustrates how we are often prisoners to our own appetites.
“Thomas Costain, in his book The Three Edwards, relates a historical episode from the fourteenth century. Two brothers, Raynald and Edward, fought bitterly. Edward mounted war against Raynald, captured him alive, and imprisoned him in Nieuwkerk Castle.
“But it was no ordinary prison cell. The room was reasonably comfortable. And there was no lock on the door—not a bolt, not a padlock, not a crossbeam. Raynald was free to come or go at will. In fact, it was better than that: Edward promised Raynald full restoration of all rights and titles on a single condition: that he walk out of that room.
“Only Raynald couldn’t. The door was slightly narrower than a typical door. And Raynald was enormously fat. He was swaddled in it. He could not, with all his squeezing and heaving, get himself outside his cell. He might more easily have passed a camel through a needle.
“So in order to walk free and reclaim all he’d lost, he had only to do one thing: lose weight. That would have come easily to most prisoners, with their rations of bread and water.
“It did not come easy to Raynald. Edward had disguised a great cruelty as an act of generosity. Every day, Edward had Raynald served with the richest, sauciest foods, savory and sweet, and ample ale and wine to boot. Raynald ate and ate and grew larger and larger. He spent ten years trapped in an unlocked cell, freed only after Edward’s death. His health was so ruined, he died soon himself.”
Buchanan’s book “The Rest Of God” is delightful and full of great content and excellent writing. It explores something that is oddly missing from many discussions of the Sabbath, the issue of rest.
Buchanan, Mark (2007-03-11). The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath (pp. 165-166). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.