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The Thief

adapted by Gedaliah Fleer

from the stories of Rebbe Nachman

A businessman, travelling by coach through a forest, was accosted by a thief.

"Your money or your life," said the thief.

"Take all that I have," said the traveller, "but please don't harm me."

The thief took the man's money and was about to leave when his victim begged, "Take pity on me! How can I return home, having spent so much time an the road, with nothing to show for my effort? I'll be the laughing stock of the community. People will say that I failed as a businessman. They won't believe that I was robbed. At least if I could prove that I put up a great struggle before surrendering my possessions, then the disgrace would be easier to bear. Please, do me a favor and shoot two bullets into my top-hat so that the robbery will be obvious."

The thief was sympathetic and obliged his victim by firing two bullets into the hat.

"While you're at it," pleaded the traveller, "maybe you could put another two holes into the coach."

Again the thief consented, and fired two more rounds into the luxurious wagon.

He was about to go when, in a voice which was hardly a whisper, his victim timidly said, "I know that this may seem silly, but perhaps you could shoot a few bullets into my overcoat so that the story will be more convincing."

The thief did as he was asked until his bullets were gone. Then the traveller overpowered his assailant and retrieved his money.

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Copyright © 1997 by Gedaliah Fleer.
Used by permission.

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