Panting heavily, a boy stood at outskirts of a small village. He had been running away from an angry crowd who wanted to beat him to death. He looked behind to check if they are still chasing him. When he saw no one, he heaved a sigh of relief. Then, he sat down and took out a loaf of bread which he had stolen. He tore a piece of it and tried to swallow it. But he could not eat it. Something stopped him. Tears started rolling out of his eyes. He knew he had sinned. How could he eat from stolen bread? He would have never stolen in life, but circumstances left him no choice. His new mother had kicked him out. She was beautiful but without any mercy. She loved her own children and had often abused and beaten him, who was her stepson. He went from shop to shop and house to house to get some work. No one offered him any help. To save himself alive he had but to steal. But alas they found it out and ran after him to beat him to death. Tears started rolling over his cheeks.
He stood up and began walking into the woods. Tall oak trees looked down upon the young thief in disdain. Deep inside the dense forest, he found remains of a tree trunk, hewn down by crooked men. He sat on it in despair. Soon he fell asleep. He woke with the sound of many voices in his ears. How eyes awakened to find him surrounded by a group of thieves. Little thief was surrounded by big thieves. They asked him money who had no money. Terrified, he gave the bread he had plundered. Innocently he spoke of the crime he committed. “This is all I have – a stolen bread!” Thieves knew the kid is not lying. The cruel men felt pity in their hearts.
“You need not fear us kid. You are one of us – a thief! And we never hurt those who are thieves. Every thief is our brother. We become thieves because the world has forced us. We are thief not by choice but by desperation! How cruel it would be if we rob them who were robbed by the world around us?” -said so the king of thieves! A wild forest full of big and little thieves began wondering in amazement at the deep philosophy of unlearned thief! Who was evil – the cruel world which forced the thieves to take a wrong path or the thieves themselves whose cruelty robbed the world of their possessions?
When the little boy finished eating, he joined the thieves into their abodes. Next day, as they were walking through the dense forest, they heard the footsteps of a man. They hid behind the tall oak trees. A man was seen dragging his donkey. He was cursing his fate as he dragged the tired animal. Donkey, on the other hand, was cursing his own fate under his tyrant master. The sound of dried leaves getting crushed under the feet of tyrant master and the donkey made a chirping sound as of they were moaning their fate begin trodden down under feet of men and animals. In no time the thieves grabbed the man by his collar.
“I am a priest!” replied the man. There was both fear and pride in his claim. “I have no money”
“You are lying,”
“Look at my dress. Don’t you see a priest’s dress? ”
The thieves looked up and down at the monk.
“So you are a priest then?” asked the thief
“Don’t kill me,” said the priest. “God will be angry if you hurt me.”
The thieves laughed hearing his sacred threats. The woods joined the thieves and echoed back the laugh with them. Their wicked laughter echoed back and forth until their leader began to speak.
“We don’t fear your gods. If there was a God he would have never let my children die. What did my little girl do to him that he allowed men to murder her and my beloved wife? They blamed her that she is a witch. She was not. You religious men, your religion deprived me of my family.”The thief was very angry. The little boy, who had stolen bread, was a firm believer in God. He knew if he didn’t do something the thieves would kill the priest. The boy immediately asked the leader of thieves, “Sir, did not I heard you say that you do not hurt people who are thieves like you?”
“Yes,” replied the head thief.
“Then he is like you,” said the young boy
“Like us………….?” We are thieves. He is a priest….! We are sinners; he is a saint. We are earth; he is heaven. There is no similarity between us!”
“Ah… you are mistaken, sir! He is one like us. He has the same pair of hands and legs as we have. He has the same eyes as we have. His skin is like us. He is as human as we are! He eats bread and drinks water, just as we do. How is he different?”
The big questions of the little boy made the big thief think a little while. Then he spoke to the boy.
“Hey kid, look at him. What do you see? ……… Look at me! What do you see? Do we appear the same? He has a full shaven face. I haven’t shaven for years! He wears a white dress and I wear a black one. His face is shiny and fatter with oil, and I have scars and wounds. He has a holy book in his hand. I have this knife.”
A question to the Reader
“Tell me o courageous and wise reader. Was the priest a thief? And if he was, then who was the biggest thief of all the three – the little boy who stole the bread, the group of thieves who comforted the despised orphan kid, or the saint in the tall woods of oak?
Answer the question by clicking the right answer. Additional details and your logical explanations can be given in the comment section.