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Who is the Goniff?
By Arye Dearli
Once in a far off kingdom, there was a man who was caught stealing. He was brought before the courts and found guilty. The punishment was severe: death! The unfortunate man was visited by the police chief and told that he would be granted one request before his execution.
The man thought for a short time and replied: "I have a secret that I have kept for many years. No one else knows this. If I die, then the world will never know what I know. I would like to reveal this to you for the benefit of mankind and the world.
"What I know is a secret for making trees grow fast. I know how to make a tree grow from a seed to a full grown fruit bearing tree in only two days."
The police were impressed. What a boon this could be for the economy. Imagine having more fruit in our kingdom than all of the neighboring kingdoms. This certainly was an important secret that was worthy of being revealed.
"What I need," the man continued, "are several items that I use for this secret recipe"
He wrote out a list of different roots and leaves and gave it to he police chief. In a short time they were brought to the man. He began grinding, boiling, roasting and combining all of these ingredients until he arrived at a fine white powder.
"Now, it is ready to plant in the ground with a seed. However, I forgot to mention that it requires a honest person who has never stolen, to plant the seed. If not, it will not work. I, before I stole, was capable of doing it, but now, alas, I can not do it, for I am no longer honest. If I plant the seed a terrible plague, worst than death, will come upon me. But you, the chief of police, for sure, you are honest. You take the seed and plant it. In the merit of your honesty, a gigantic tree will grow, giving the most tasty fruits in only two days."
The police chief blushed a bit and replied that he, unfortunately could not plant the seed for there had been certain times and incidents, which, due to the pressures of his work he had to compromise his high principles. Therefore some one else should be chosen.
"Give it to the judge" the man suggested. "Who could be more honest than he? For sure, the man who judges all the land must be a righteous man. Let him plant the seed"
The seed was brought to the judge, but he, too, refused. "Yes it is true that I administer justice though out the land, but there have been times that I did things because I had a strong personal prejudice and I was able to use my position for my benefit. No, I am sorry, but I can not plant the seed."
"Well," said the man, "take it to the law makers, the men who sit in the parliament. For sure they are honest men. They make the laws for the country. They certainly would not steal."
But, alas, the lawmakers in their entirety also refused. "True, we make the laws. But some times in the course of work it is necessary to use the money of the kingdom for our work, It happens that some money happens to stay with us. No, we are so sorry, we can not plant the seed."
"Well," said the man, "the king is the most virtuous of all men in the kingdom. His entire life is only to help the unfortunate and poor. He strives to improve the lot of the simple citizen. For sure he will plant the seed."
The king refused. "I am sorry. Often, I must take money from the treasury to pay for large state parties. More often than not, large sums remain with me. No, I am also sorry, I can not plant the seed."
The police chief returned dejected to the man and told him that he could not find a person in the entire kingdom who could plant the seed.
"If there is no one in the entire kingdom who is free on the sin of theft," the man asked, "why is it that I am being executed for stealing, when every one in the government has also committed this crime?"
And dear reader, we must ask you to supply the answer.
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