Legends of Belerath
Twenty Rules of Long Living
(The following is a republishing of a letter to King Aethelbhert of Thrimichath, penned by Alchred Tillman, a mage of some repute in the kingdom. Aethelbhert had previously written to Alchred requesting a potion or spell that could grant him a one hundred year reign. The letter earned him his appointment to the newly-created position of Lord Magus. His rules were later separated and numbered, and have become popular among nobles, despite Aethelbhert’s death at 36.)
My noble liege,
Of course there is no recipe for living a hundred years (save for being born an elf). What I can tell you, in sober and careful language, is how to keep the body in such good condition that, barring accidents, you shall round out our appointed term of life in health and vigor.
To accomplish this there is nothing new to suggest, either in nostrum or health program; but we need to be reminded of those established rules that are the result of universal experience, and of the application of intelligence to life. Hence, observe the following:
I. Endeavor always to kindness as a kind man has no enemies and no grief.
II. Keep your faith. Faith gives man purpose, and purpose gives man the drive to live.
III. Eat Intelligently. Learn the nutritive values of food. Eat what you need. Let the diet be simple. Avoid satiety; quit eating before you are sated. Chew well.
IV. Drink only pure water. Water containing certain salts and minerals may be beneficial; ask your physician. Drink a plenty. Water is man’s greatest friend in nature.
V. Keep clean. Bathe regularly. If you cannot abide public baths or river bathing get a bath cabinet of your own, or make one, and perspire freely at least once a week.
VI. Sweat often. Thorough perspiration ins the salvation of the kidneys.
VII. Take regularly alcohol in any form. There is no use in opening this subject again. The regular drinker of alcoholic beverages is a foolish person. He is purchasing a pleasant glow at the expense of inviting a hundred disorders.
VIII. Be out of doors as much as you can. Fresh air, sunshine, and water are nature’s three cure-alls. Sleep with your windows open summer and winter.
IX. Exercise systematically. The royal life is as a rule so routined that the muscles and organs of the body are not harmoniously developed. There are many books and teachers of exercise, but the principles are few, and usually the same. It is regular, not occasional and violent, exercise that counts.
X. Avoid constipation, one of the most prolific sources of bodily derangement. When constipated, leeches ringed round the anus will free the bowels.
XI. Avoid excesses of any kind. Be temperate in all things.
XII. Don’t worry. It is mostly a matter of habit. Don’t get into the way of it. Worry is the prime life-shortener.
XIII. Don’t indulge in hate. Don’t allow yourself to entertain a grudge against any living being. What’s the use? Forget it.
XIV. Don’t give way to regrets for the past, nor to premonitions of evil for the future.
XV. Keep the mind cheerful. Play and laugh as much as you can.
XVI. Have some part of the world’s work to do. Feel that you are earning your salt. Be interested in some constructive and useful activity.
XVII. Work at your life by the day and not by the task. Be satisfied with each day’s results.
XVIII. Marry; have children; the most wholesome class of people in the world are grandfathers and grandmothers.
XIX. Believe in the almightiness of goodness and shun any success that involves a troubled conscience.
XX. These probably sound like preachy platitudes to your grace; they are; but it is necessary to keep repeating them because we are constantly overlooking or discounting them we need to be reminded that they are the best we yet know about the art of living a hundred years.
Yours in service, Alchred Tillman