Just say "No!" to oversimplification!

The Parable of the Shoplifter at the King's Banquet

One upon a time a shoplifter was visiting his favorite shop, examining a washing machine while speculating whether there might be any inconspicuous way to walk out with it, when in came a King's messenger!

He spoke to the shopkeeper first, "There's going to be this incredible feast tomorrow night; the whole country is invited and that means you're welcome too! Were you planning to come?"

"Look, we can't all be dashing about waving messages; some of us have to work for a living! I can't leave this business; if I took my eye off the place for half a second they'd clean me out! See that guy in the corner by the washing machine? -- Last week he walked out of here with a refrigerator under his coat; could you believe it? That's the kind of people I get in this neigborhood."

Unable to interest the shopkeeper, the messenger wandered back to the man by the washing machine. "What about you? Were you planning anything tomorrow evening?"

"Well, I don't know... I'm kind of busy trying to sell this refrigerator... Do you think the King might want one?"

"You'd have to ask about that, yourself. But I know you'll have a great time! Good food, beautiful women, gold plates and silver knives; you'll love it!"

The next evening, tablecloth tucked under his chin, our shoplifter was standing at the door of the banquet room. The King noticed him at once. "Look after that man; he's shy! I don't think he's been eating well."

"Should I hover, Sire?"

"No, no, don't press. Just do what you can to make him comfortable."

 The food was wonderful; the wine better than anything he'd ever tasted. "I mustn't let any of this go to waste!" he told himself, draining his glass.

The waiter quietly refilled it, noting that certain nearby place settings needed their silverware replenished. When our guest passed out an hour or so later, the waiter spoke to the King about him. "He's a very needy man, Sire!"

"Yes. I don't think you can get anything more into his pockets, but there's still a little room in his left sleeve. And probably you could fit a few more plates under his belt while you're at it."

The shoplifter awoke suddenly, realizing that he'd made the haul of his life! He didn't even remember taking the candlesticks... but if he got caught, at this point, it might be the last haul. Metal clinked as he got to his feet. "Were you going anywhere, sir? We're about to start the dancing."

Dancing? For certain he would clang and bang! With a partner? -- Every square inch of him was packed with cutlery -- "My dog! I've got to get home and feed my dog!"

"Would he like a doggie bag, sir?"

On his way out, at last passing the guard by the exit, he took refuge in a look of honest bewilderment. "Should I send a wheelbarrow, sir?" asked the guard.

"I wonder what he meant by that," our hero wondered all the way home.

But at last he did reach home, and fell into bed with a crash that roused him into hours of restless turmoil.

And he never did realize he'd received a gift.

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