Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Lantern

Once upon a time, there were two brothers who were made to work on their uncle's farm. Their uncle was a serious man, who believed in hard work, and accordingly, the two brothers were made to work very hard indeed.

There was no time for foolishness, and after some months of this, the two brothers began to experience resentment toward their uncle. As the days passed by, this resentment grew into hatred. Eventually, their hatred reached the point where they decided to murder their uncle!

They knew that it was their uncle's habit and custom, every day after lunch, to take a nap in the barn. Knowing this, the two brothers devised a plan. When their uncle fell asleep, they would toss a lighted lantern into the barn through an open window. The lantern would break, the hay would catch fire, the barn would burn down, and their wicked uncle would die.

The day came for execution of their plan. Surely it happened that according to habit, their uncle ate a hearty lunch, and then retired to the barn to take a nap in the hay.

Quickly, the two brothers threw the lantern in through an open window, and after a few moments, smoke began rising from the barn.

The two brothers ran away.

Now, the barn burned down that day, and their uncle perished in the flames. However, instead of feeling satisfaction with what they had done, the two brothers found themselves wracked with guilt. Unable to bear the guilty knowledge that they had killed their uncle, the brothers sought out the local sheriff and immediately confessed their crimes.

Naturally, they were arrested on the spot, and naturally, they were brought to trial. At trial, on the witness stand, the brothers disclosed all they had thought and done, and made a tearful admission of guilt. The sheriff believed them wholeheartedly. The judge believed them wholeheartedly, The jury believed them wholeheartedly. They, themselves, believed themselves guilty of the crime of premeditated murder.

Yet, among the spectators, there was one man who did not believe them.

This man tried to rise in defense of the brothers, but was subjected to scorn and abuse from the entire court. How, on earth, could he possibly think that the matter was anything other than an open and shut case?

"I cannot believe any of this," said the man, "because no evidence has been seen, and nothing has been completely investigated."

So, in order to put everyone's mind at rest, a full investigation was ordered. As a result, the two brothers were set free, and the case became one of the most famous in history.

Despite their evil intent, the lantern that the brothers threw in the window had landed in a tub of water. and was immediately extinguished.

Their uncle had fallen asleep with a lighted pipe in his hand, and it was this which had ignited the hay, causing the unfortunate fire.

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