The Thief and his Mother

A schoolboy stole a hornbook from one of his schoolmates and brought it home to his mother. Instead of punishing him, she encouraged him and was proud of his deed. In the course of time, the boy, now a grown man, began to steal things of greater value until he was finally caught in the act. Soon thereafter he was tried and sentenced to death. As he was being led toward the place of execution, he noticed his mother in the crowd standing along the way. She was wailing and beating her breast, and he begged the officers for permission to whisper a few words in her ear. When she quickly drew near and placed her ear to her son’s lips, he seized the lobe of it tightly between his teeth and bit it off. Immediately she shrieked, and the crowd joined her in scolding the unnatural son, as if his former evil ways had not been enough. Now he had even gone a step further by committing this impious deed against his mother. However, he responded, “It’s she who’s the cause of my ruin! If she had given me a sound flogging when I stole my schoolmate’s hornbook and brought it to her, I would never have grown so wicked and come to this untimely end.”

Old Learning: Nip evil in the bud.

New Take

There were enough instances to turn good. Passing the blame to others is not going to help. The thief could have told the same thing without biting her mother’s ear.

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