The Propheteer

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Friends! Romans! Countrymen!

21 January, 2005 (11:00) | hitch | By: hitch

There lived, in ancient Rome, a farmer of humble demeanor. His livelihood was built on the quality of his crops, for although his yield was small, it was of the finest produce that money could buy and often commanded very dear prices at the market. For all this, however, the farmer still lived a modest life, content with being comfortable, and putting most of his earnings into improving his farm.

One summer, much like any other, the farmer went into the fields to tend his plants and examined his gardens with a care born of love. Coming to the berries, he was astonished. There, upon the vine, was the most perfect berry he had ever seen. It was just before the peak of ripeness, round and firm, large but obviously filled with the sweetest of juices. It was a wonder that the birds had missed such a specimen! Unable to resist the temptation, the farmer plucked the berry from the vine and hurried into his house where he placed it upon his table. Falling into reverie, he spent the rest of the day and long into the night in silent contemplation of the berry.

The following day, the farmer went to his closest neighbor’s house and brought their entire family back to view the fruit of his vine, so vivid were his descriptions of its virtues. They did not leave disappointed – the following day they brought even more people back to see the berry, which enraptured all who gazed upon it. Day after day more visitors flocked to the poor farmer’s door to see this wonder – and many of them, moved by the beauty they saw, left donations for the farmer for the privelege of their pilgrimage. And the farmer, though at first embarassed by the money, soon realized he could put their generosity back into his farming, and perhaps increase the quality of his other crops to the same level as his berry!

This continued for some months, with attendance and donations increasing, until the man had to begin placing limits on the number of people who could see the berry in any given day. “If you do not leave me now, I will not get any farming done!” he would exclaim, “and would it not be a shame if I could not harvest more berries like this one because I was standing here watching you?” And so they would all return to their homes. The next morning, though, they would show up even earlier, waiting for the farmer to open his door and let them in to see the magnificent fruit.

One evening, long after the man had retired to his bed, there came a pounding upon the door and, irritated, the farmer roused from his bed to answer the summons and tell the supplicants to return in the morning. Before he could reach the portal, the pounding came again with renewed vigor and it became obvious that the people beyond meant to break the door down if necessary. Rushing to open his door, he threw back the bolt and was thrown back himself by the force of the door opening from without. There beyond the threshold gathered a band of brigands and cutthroats, grinning into the small farm house.

“Please, sirs,” quavered the farmer, “go home. You may come again in the morning to admire the berry.” There was terror in his eyes as he gazed into the faces of his assailant, and his heart sank when the largest, most brutish of the group opened his mouth to speak.

The bandits’ leader sneered at the farmer and said “Fool! We come to seize the Berry, not to praise it!”

(it’s come to my attention that this one is a bit of a stretch. if you don’t get it, read this)

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