There was a man who had three vineyards, which he let out to three husbandmen. Because the first knew not how to cultivate the vineyard and the vineyard brought forth only leaves. The second taught the third how the vines ought to be cultivated; and he most excellently hearkened to his words; and he cultivate his, as he told him, insomuch that the vineyard of the third bore much. But the second left his vineyard uncultivated, spending his time solely in talking.
When the time was come for paying the rent to the lord of the vineyard, the first said: "Lord, I know not how thy vineyard ought to be cultivated, therefore I have not received any fruit this year." The Lord answered, "Oh fool! Dost thou dwell alone in the world, that thou hast not asked counsel of my second vinedresser, who knoweth well how to cultivate the land? Certain it is that thou shalt pay me."
And having said this he condemned him to work in prison until he should pay his lord, who moved with pity at his simplicity liberated him, saying : "Begone, for I will not that thou work longer at my vineyard, it is enough for thee that I give thee thy debt."
The second came, to whom the lord said, "Welcome, my vinedresser! Where are the fruits that thou owest me? Assuredly, since thou knowest well how to prune the vines, the vineyard that I let out to thee must needs have borne much fruits."
The second answered, "Oh lord, thy vineyard is backward because I have not pruned the wood now worked up the soil but the vineyard hath not borne fruit, so I cannot pay thee."
Whereupon the lord called the third and with wonder said, "Thou saidst to me that this man, to whom I let out the second vineyard, taught thee perfectly to cultivate the vineyard which I let out to thee. How then can it be that the vineyard I let out to him should not have home fruit, seeing it is all one soil?"
The third answered, "Lord, the vines are not cultivated by talking only, but he needs must sweat a shirt every day who willeth to make it bring forth its fruit. And how shall thy vineyard of thy vinedresser bear fruit. Oh lord, that if he had put into practice his own words, while I who cannot talk so much have given thee the rent for two years, he would have given thee the rent of the vineyard for five years."
The lord was wroth, and said with scorn to the vinedresser, "And so thou hast wrought a great work in not cutting away the wood and levelling the vineyard, wherefore there is owing to thee a great reward!" And having called his servants he had him beaten without any mercy. ANd then he put him into prison under the keeping of a cruel servant who beat him every day, and never was willing to set him free for prayers of his friends.
- from The Gospel of Barnabas Ch. 76