Four Levels of King John And Abbot of Canterbury

King John And Abbot of Canterbury Four Levels

The writer’s name of this story is not given. The four levels of the story King John and Abbot of Canterbury are:

Literal Comprehension

King John and Abbot of Canterbury is the story of England’s King John who ruled over England. The Abbot of Canterbury (Priest of religious places).

One day the King called the Abbot, said your fault is high, he warned him to kill him if you are not able to give answers to my questions. The questions of the King were first, what is the price of me (the King’s price)? Second is, How long would take to move around the whole world?

And the third question is, What am I thinking at the moment? Along with these questions, the king also gave him two weeks to find out the answers.

To find out the answers Abbot asked colleges, universities, doctors, and other educated persons but no one was able to give him the answers. With this, he becomes so disappointed and comes to his home.

Being hopeless he shares his problem with his Shepherd (who takes care of the Sheep). Unexpectedly Shepherd said I will give answers to these questions and save your life.

This is the day when he has three days left. On the fourteenth (last) day Shepherd goes to the king’s palace. King tells him to answer his three questions.

He said the first answer was, the first savior is Jesus whose Christ price is 30 Pence and your price is 29 Pence. The second is, until one morning to the next morning if you have speed as the Sun. And the third answer is, you are thinking I am Abbot or not.

After listening to all these answers he was laughing and so much cheering. Although he knows he is a Shepherd, not an Abbot, he forgives the Abbot.


From the moral and religious point of view, this story is well appreciated. This story shows the jealous nature and righteous nature of the king.

The story taught only formal, bookish education is not sufficient rather than practical knowledge and our knowledge is far better than formal knowledge.

It says illiterate, uneducated people are also able to give better answers than educated people. In that situation, Shepherd is presented.

Critical Thinking

The story is interesting to read and gives a moral lesson to the readers. However, when I read this text as a critical thinker I had some questions raised. They are,

  • Is it right only 29 Pence is the price of the King?
  • It takes only 24 hours to move around the world, is it possible to believe?
  • Is it not possible to recognize Shepherd by the King?
  • Does every illiterate person give a better answer than the educated one?


Before reading this text I used to think that formal, bookish knowledge and only educated people can solve any type of problem and be able to give any type of questions or answers.

But after this text, I knew that illiterate people can also give better answers than educated people. Also, I knew the importance of practical knowledge.

Read Next: Third Thoughts Four Levels

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