The Two Rogues

Once, two rogues made a perfect living by posing as holy men and selling worthless charms to unsuspecting people, with resounding promises that the treats would fend off ill fortune and cure any disease.

All went well for some time, and the pickings were delicious. And our two rogues took care not to stay in any place too long and never to visit the same town twice.

Then there came the day, which started very well with plenty of folks willing to part with their money for so-called lucky charms, but amongst the crowd was a visitor who had been cheated by these frauds some months before. He promptly accused them of mischief and trickery, and the public, ever willing to welcome a diversion, were soon pelting the two rogues with rotten vegetables and anything else they laid their hands on.

Dishevelled and bruised, the two rogues were happy to get away from that town, and they realised that it was time they thought of a better scheme to hoodwink the public.

After arguing over the possibilities of various ideas, the two rogues parted.

Eventually, the first rogue came to a small town many miles away. Here he seated himself in the public square and, with closed eyes, was supposed to be deep in meditation. Soon a crowd had gathered around this holy man, curious about who he was and when he came.

As soon as he opened his eyes, he was showered with: questions and many asked for his help and guidance.

The rogue spoke quietly to the gathering. My friends, no matter what ails you. Whether it be a body or mind sickness, I can cure you all.”

At this, many of the people pressed forward to seek help from this holy man. But he held up his hand. “I do: not seek alms,” he said. “But I am commanded to build a temple to Lord Shiva. So if you be truly devoted. I implore you to give liberally.”

Very soon, he was busy gathering into a pile not only coins but costly ornaments. At that moment, there was a shout from the back of the crowd, and pushing his way through, the second rogue confronted the holy man and shouted, Charlatan, and, in a voice of scorn, rogue! You are no sacred man but a cheap deceiver of good people.”

The crowd was taken back at such a savage outburst, and several would have laid hands on the intruder, but the holy man stopped them by merely raising his hand. “Do not touch my accuser. But let me show you the penalty for slandering a holy man, such as I,” he said.

With that, the holy man took up a bowl of water and, sprinkling some into the palm of his hand, mumbled some mystic words. Then rising to his feet, he splashed water on his accuser, who fell heavily.

There were cries from the crowd,” He is dead,” and everyone stared in horror at the body. But several kindly folks beseeched the holy man to bring the wrong-doer back to life.

The holy man’ appeared to relent, for he again sprinkled water on the corpse and again mumbled something, at which the corpse came to life and slowly got to his feet and stumbled away out of sight.

The following day the holy man and the corpse met outside the town and gloated over the proceeds the crowd had contributed.

So with professional pride, they made their way to the next town. But, the miracle of bringing a man back to life preceded them, and when they tried the same act again, the only contribution they received was a heavy prison sentence.

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