The Saint by Kahlil Gibran
Kahlil Gibran is my favourite storyteller, with lesser words and great social message, deeply embedded in the story, his stories always has surprising ends. It was another master storyteller Oscar Wilde who said “every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” But this story ‘The Saint’ is one step ahead to Oscar Wilde’s concept of sinners. It says if your harmless lie may comfort a restless soul then let it be happen.
In my youth I once visited a saint in his silent grove beyond the hills; and as we were conversing upon the nature of virtue a brigand came limping wearily up the ridge. When he reached the grove he knelt down before the saint and said, “O saint, I would be comforted! My sins are heavy upon me.”
And the saint replied, “My sins, too, are heavy upon me.”
And the brigand said, “But I am a thief and a plunderer.”
And the saint replied, “I too am a thief and a plunderer.”
And the brigand said, “But I am a murderer, and the blood of many men cries in my ears.”
And the saint replied, “I am a murderer, and in my ears cries the blood of many men.”
And the brigand said, “I have committed countless crimes.”
And the saint replied, “I too have committed crimes without number.”
Then the brigand stood up and gazed at the saint, and there was a strange look in his eyes. And when he left us he went skipping down the hill.
And I turned to the saint and said, “Wherefore did you accuse yourself of uncommitted crimes? See you not this man went away no longer believing in you?”
And the saint answered, “It is true he no longer believes in me. But he went away much comforted.”
At that moment we heard the brigand singing in the distance, and the echo of his song filled the valley with gladness.
Image credit: www.gandharan-archives.blogspot.com