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[927a] of how the souls of the dead have a certain power of caring for human affairs after death. The tales which contain this doctrine are true, though long; and while it is right to believe the other traditions about such matters, which are so numerous and exceeding old, we must so believe those who lay it down by law that these are facts, unless it is plain that they are utter fools. So if this is really the state of the case, the guardians shall fear, first, the gods above who [927b] pay regard to the solitude of orphans; and, secondly, the souls of the dead, whose natural instinct it is to care especially for their own offspring, and to be kindly disposed those who respect them and hostile to those who disrespect them; and, thirdly, they shall fear the souls of the living who are old and who are held in most high esteem; since where the State flourishes under good laws, their children's children revere the aged with affection and live in happiness. These old people [927c] are keen of eye and keen of ear to mark such matters, and while they are gracious towards those who deal justly therein, they are very wroth with those who despitefully entreat orphans and waifs, regarding these as a trust most solemn and sacred. To all these authorities the guardian and official—if he has a spark of sense—must pay attention; he must show as much care regarding the nurture and training of the orphans as if he were contributing to his own support and that of his own children, and he must do them good in every way to the utmost of his power. He, then, that obeys the tale prefixed to the law [927d] and in no wise misuses the orphan will have no direct experience of the anger of the lawgiver against such offences; but the disobedient and he that wrongs any who has lost father or mother shall in every case pay a penalty double of that due from the man who offends against a child with both parents living. As regards further legal directions either to guardians concerning orphans or to magistrates concerning the supervision of the guardians,—if they did not already possess a pattern of the way to nurture free children in the way they themselves nurture their own children and supervise their household goods, [927e] and if they did not also possess laws regulating these same affairs in detail, then it would have been reasonable enough to lay down laws concerning guardianship, as a peculiar and distinct branch of law, marking out with special regulations of its own the life of the orphan as contrasted with the non-orphan; but, as the matter stands, the condition of orphanhood in all these respects does not differ greatly with us from the condition of parental control, although as a rule in respect of public estimation and of the care bestowed on the children they are on quite a different level.

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