Bob’s Banter: On Spreading Rumors

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RumorsROBERT CLEMENTS

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] curious drama played itself out before my eyes the other day. A chairman of a society who was keen the children of his colony had ample time to play everyday, saw to it the society playground was kept lit for a few hours into the night. Obviously the light bill went up a bit, but he was able to convince the people of more than two hundred members that an increase was a pittance they paid to see their children were happy playing in the colony and not loafing elsewhere. The people agreed.

But the Treasurer of the colony wasn’t happy. He was a disgruntled man by nature who hated seeing others receive recognition of any kind, also a union man, trained in using slander, gossip and rumors to the best effect.

One day as the chairman was doing his rounds of the society he was called to a group of ladies who generally sat in the evening together, “Is it true” they asked him, “that the light bill for the ground is sixty thousand rupees?”

The chairman was shocked, and explained to them that the bill was just a little over the old bills, and asked them who had told them this lie. They appeared uneasy, and he decided not to press them. He informed a friend who asked the treasurer, since only the treasurer knew about the light bill, why he was doing such. “I have not talked to the ladies, “he said vehemently.

“Did your wife speak to the ladies?” asked the chairman with a twinkle in his eyes.

“You asked whether I had spoken,” said the treasurer, “You didn’t ask about my wife!”

In a small German village, a woman differed with her priest and began spreading ugly rumors about him around town. As fate would have it, she fell ill and called on the minister to pray for her. He came gladly, and she asked his forgiveness of her gossiping.

“I will grant you forgiveness,” the priest said, “but first go and get a basket of feathers!” After she had brought the feathers, he said, “Now take this basket of feathers and scatter them in the corners of the marketplace and from the towers of the school. Scatter them throughout the town. Then return to me.”

So the woman walked from one end of town to the other, scattering the feathers. Then she returned to her priest. “I have done as you asked,” she said.

“Very well, now take your basket and collect all the feathers. Make sure not one is missing.”

“But that is not possible!” the woman said with a choking cry. “The wind has carried many of them away!”

“So it is with your words” the minister whispered. “While I have gladly forgiven you, do not forget that you can never undo the damage your untrue words have done!”

 I sincerely hope the treasurer and his wife read these words of mine..!

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