Tales : The Book of Truth

Once upon a time a certain man who lived in the countryside was reading a book late in the night by candlelight. He was very interested in the book, which seemed to him to be full of wisdom. But then to his surprise, he read, “Any man who has a long beard is certainly a fool.”

“But,” said the man to himself, “I myself have a long beard, which I have always thought made me look distinguished and scholarly – even handsome! Can it be that I have deceived myself?”

And the more the man thought about it, the more convinced he became that he had indeed been very foolish in his life; error after error presented itself to his memory, and he began to feel very ashamed of himself. “I have been blind to my faults, but now I understand,” | he said, “and what’s more, I see the solution before me!” And without a moment’s hesitation he put the tip of his beard in the candle flame.

In an instant, his whole beard blazed up, and then his hair as well. Perhaps the fire would have spread to the whole hut but his cries of alarm alerted the neighbours, who came running and doused his with water.

When the neighbours, seeing him scorched and covered with ashes, asked him what had happened, he told them, “Friends, it is because of this book. I have discovered that this is a book of absolute truth, but I warn you – the truth can be dangerous!”

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