The whole truth

When a gaggle of scientists whined to the prophet about his invectives and proffered a petition signed by ninety-nine laurates, he thanked them profusely, explaining that he had just run out of paper with which to wipe his ass! Then, struck by a sudden compassion, he told them this story:

A young man stumbled upon an antique shop whose owner managed to sell him a rusty contraption for all the money he had, which, the salesman claimed, if wound up and properly used, would spell out a short correct answer to any question he might pose.

The pitch was true, and soon the young man was the talk of the town. When a girl was poisoned while playing with frogs, he proudly read off the only cure. And when the clouds gathered but would not quite rain, again the new hero sprouted an answer. So when a poor man came crying that the little wealth he owned had been stolen, no one was surprized to be immediately given the criminal’s name.

Of course, one of the princes eventually heard of these goings on and summoned the soothsayer, asking to ascend his father’s throne as quickly as possible. And sometime later, when the queen mother wished to bear her son a sister, she also was given a formula to just the right potion. But when a few elders politely inquired how they might pacify the town’s riff-raff, the eager young man once again consulted his device and proposed the easiest solution. As the pestilence reached its peak, the common folk dragged the innocent man from his home, gouged his eyes with his contraption, and ceremoniously tossed him out of the city.


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