How to Catch a Thief

September 13, 2009
Audio: How to Catch a Thief

There once was an isolated village tucked away high up in the hills.

One morning, there was a bubbling of commotion from each of the small houses.

“Have you seen my gold bracelet?”

“My grandmother’s ring is gone!”

“My money’s been stolen!”

The angry villagers crowded in the square complaining and lamenting their stolen treasures. Everyone clamored to see the village chief.

Eventually, the head of the village called for order. He examined each villager in turn and solemnly asked them to line up. He announced, “This village is so isolated, that we have had no sign of outsiders for months. Furthermore, all the valuables were stolen from secret places within each house that only an insider who has entered each home and observed the daily lives of our people could know where they were hidden. I regret to conclude that the thief is one of us”

A wave of surprise flowed through the crowd.

“Chief, how do you plan to root out the thief? I have lost over ninety gold coins!” exclaimed one of the village men.

“Be patient my friend, we will find out in due course.”

The village chief then carried out a roll call to make sure that all the villagers were accounted for.

The chief then brought out a palm-sized statue of an ancient god. Over the head of the statue, he sprinkled soot from an old fire. He showed it to the villagers and instructed, “Each villager is to go inside my home. They are to squeeze this statue with all their might. If they are innocent, the statue will remain silent. If the person is guilty, the statue will scream a deafening cry.”

The people were skeptical about black magic and surprised that the levelheaded village chief would suggest such a foolish act, but desperate to have their valuables returned, they agreed.

One by one, the villagers silently entered the house to squeeze the little statue. Everyone outside listened, waiting for an earsplitting shriek, but none came.

When the last person had entered, squeezed the statue and emerged without so much as a peep, the square burst into an angry racket.

The chief was calm and again called for order. He invited all the villagers to stand in a large circle and hold out their hands in front of them.

As he made his way round the circle, he spoke,

“The statue was squeezed, but it did not make a sound. This is because statues do not and cannot scream or shriek.

People who are innocent, have nothing to lose by squeezing an inanimate object. But the guilty are wary and careful. They don’t want to get caught. So the guilty party did not squeeze the statue for fear that it would scream.

But in doing so, he gave himself away for he is the only person in this village circle who has clean hands. And that is you my friend.”

The man who had complained about the loss of his ninety gold coins looked down at his hands in horror, then up at the wise chief. He had no choice but to confess to being the thief.

3 Responses to “How to Catch a Thief”

  1. nice

  2. nice 1..!

  3. hey umm thats good advice

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