Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Blessings

Samuel the Inquisitor stood before the village council.

"You want to do what, again?" asked Farmer Shears.

"Inquisit!"

Farmer Shears turned to the village librarian, Ms. Kiwi.

"Is inquisit a word?"

"Of course it is!" Samuel said.

"I don't think so," Ms. Kiwi replied. "I think that you're looking for the word 'inquire.'"

"Oh, well that's ok," Farmer Shears said. He leaned back in his chair until it creaked and hooked his thumbs in his buttonholes while he let a magnanimous look spread across his face. "We're happy to share information about our little village. What would you like to know?"

"Are any witches, demons or warlocks living in your midst? Has any villager signed a blood pact with one of the Grand Arbiters of Hell? Would each of you be willing to submit to a test to determine same?"

Farmer Shears' frown descended from the very top of his head all the way down into his beard. "Of course not."

"Right! You would say that! But as the natural philosophers argue, we cannot allow authority to replace a test!" Samuel said. "We need fact! We need observation! We need a repeatable experiment to be performed against each villager!"

"Like what?" Farmer Shears sat forward and folded his hands on the table.

"The first test is a burn test."

"That can't be what it sounds like."

"But it is! You tie someone to a stake and light them on fire. Witches won't burn."

"And warlocks?"

"They burn too well!"

"And demons?"

"I don't know, I've never found one." Then Samuel brightened. "But today might be the day! One must stay positive."

"The answer, of course, is absolutely not. You'll not be taking a torch to any one of the villagers. Not only would you get a stabbing from a pitchfork - and you'd have to make sure not to 'test' the doctor first - but that test doesn't prove anything besides how long that they were at the tavern the eve before."

"Okay, I came prepared. I didn't think that you'd jump at that test. Most villages don't. I have more suggestions."

"Here's a suggestion: how about you leave?"

Ms. Kiwi put a hand on Farmer Shears' arm. "Now, now. Maybe he has a less, er, strenuous test. Do you?"

"Yes! I have one where the warlock has to hold his breath for six days."

"No," Farmer Shears. He stood up, walked around the table and grabbed Samuel by the arm. "You're done."

"I have one that doesn't involve fire or water! It's called the finger test!"

Without pausing for a yes or no, Samuel pointed his index finger and shoved it into Samuel's mouth between his molars and cheek.

"Demons have receding gumlines from all of the lies." He massaged the gumline. "I'm happy to report that Farmer Shears' has vigorous gums!"

Farmer Shears nodded.

"I know a thing or two about this myself. In fact, my family has devloped a very useful technique. It has driven many demons from our homes. Many malingerers cannot withstand it. They find it so hateful that they leave."

"I would love to learn it!"

Farmer Shears slapped Samuel across the face.

"I call it the horizontal hand blessing."

And Farmer Shears blessed Samuel all of the way out of the village.

The Moral: free speech does not mandate an unsolicited gum massage for your audience

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