|The Tongue and The Pesant|
THE TONGUE AND THE PEASANT,
A PARABLE OF JAMES 3:6
There once was a poor peasant named Hugh who lived in an ancient town. Hugh would gather sticks in the forest to sell to the townspeople so they could cook and warm themselves. He went out early in the morning before the sun came up and the mist was still thick from the night; and return in the heat of the day with sticks to sell to townsfolk.
One misty morning he saw Mr. Mayer meet a young woman in the gloom of the forest outside the town's gates. Mr. Mayer and the young woman embraced and seemed to have much excited whisperings together. Hugh jumped to a conclusion that Mr. Mayer was sneaking off to revel in some sin with a woman of the night. That day as he gathered up sticks he wove a dark image of Mr. Mayer in his mind until he had conjured up an image of wild drunkenness between Mr. Mayer and the young woman.
Hugh could hardly wait to return to the town with his sticks. He stopped at the town gates and asked the guards if they had seen Mr. Mayer return.
"No, Hugh. Shall we tell him you need to see him when he comes back?"
"Oh, I don't think we will see him today since I saw him hurry out of town with a strange woman before dawn." Hugh replied with a nasty wink.
As he went from house to house to sell his load of sticks he would make comments such as, "Who do you think that beautiful woman was that Mr. Mayer ran off with before dawn?" With glee he went around to all the townsfolk and spread the bad news, it became a terrible story of infidelity and wickedness. The tale grew over the next few days as Mr. Mayer was absent from town.
The next week on an early dawn Hugh walked the twisted path thought the woods gathering sticks and he heard the voices of travelers on the path ahead of him. Recognizing the voice of Mr. Mayer he hid in the bushes hoping to find out more of Mr. Mayer’s adventures.
> "Oh, Thank you so much Uncle," Said the beautiful woman.
"No, it was a small thing, Ann. If I had only known before I would have come sooner."
"We grieved so from mother’s death that we didn’t think. When the bankers came and told us about father’s debts we were so shocked we didn't know what to do. We were too ashamed to ask for help.
"Dear Ann. It is for times as these that the good Lord gives family. If I let the lenders take you and your sisters and sell you on the slavery block I would be worse than the lenders who charged such awful interest."
"But Uncle, the debt was so much you had to bankrupt yourself to redeem our debts and save us from slavery.
"Ann ;I am richer for it."
Hugh was cut to the wick a uncle and niece walked past his hiding place. He had spread a foul tail about a man who was not a scoundrel but indeed nobler than any other he had known; a man who went not to revel in sin but on a mission of mercy and danger to help family members.
With head lowered by the weight of guilt Hugh stumbled through his day.
That night he lay in his dark hut on his pallet of straw and looked at the shadows cast by the candle. Each flicker of flame seemed to show the brightness of Mr. Mayer’s heart and the dark corners of the hut the blackness of his own. The next morning Hugh shuffled through the streets of the town to find the wise monk who lived in a stone cottage next to the cathedral. Brother, what must I do to ease my guilt; I have told a horrible tale about a man who is much nobler than any. Is there any penance, any price I can pay to ease my conscience?
"You must confess to him your sin." The good monk told him.
Hugh went to Mr. Meyer and told all. Mr. Mayer did that which made Hugh’s guilt even heaver.
"Hugh, as my Savior has forgiven me so I forgive you."
Hugh left the home of Mr. Mayer stepping into the sunlight and felt as if he had stepped into the all-seeing eyes of God. He returned to the monk. "I have asked for forgiveness but I still feel the weight of guilt. What can I do?"
The monk said. "My son, do this, get a bag of goose down feathers and leave a feather on the doorstep of every house in the town that you spread the rumor."
Hugh began the next morning and all through the day he put feathers on doorsteps. In the past week he had brought sticks and the wicked rumor to hundreds of homes and shops in the town, to each doorstep he dutifully lay a goose down feather. It was late night when he finished.
Exhausted, he went to the monk and said "I have done as you have told."
The monk said, "Your penance is not complete, now you must go back and pick up every feather you left.”
"But they are feathers, they will have blown away!”
"Yes," said the monk. "So it is with our words, once we leave them they continue to travel to unknown places and no penance, no effort will ever get them back no matter how hard we try."
Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body but it makes great boasts, Consider what great forest is set on fire by small spark. James 3:6
If this has been a blessing to you won't you consider a small gift to help keep it going?