A Parable

There was once a man who had a beautiful wife and five lovely daughters.  While in the marketplace one day, the man ran across a known serial killer.
“See here, madman,” the man crowed.  “Have I not the most beautiful family in the land?”
“Indeed you do, good sir,” cooed the madman, “but I am afraid it won’t be for long.”
“Why is that,” asked the man, his eyes narrowing.  “You do not have designs on my family, do you?  You realize that I have a powerful gun, and that if you step one foot on my property, I will gladly destroy you, and all my neighbors will cheer me for it.”
“That is certainly true,” said the madman in a sad voice.  “I am certainly wise enough to stay away from your family, even when they are not at home.  But I have no desire to harm your family, anyway, though I am a madman.  I speak of others, who live across the river, who hate and envy your good fortune.  It is they, not I, who seek to take everything of value from you.”
“Is that so?” laughed the man.  “I do not think that I shall have to worry about them, if they live across the river.”
“As you say, good man,” said the madman, and left.
That very night, the man’s oldest daughter was brutally murdered.  Investigation showed that it was the enemy from across the river who was responsible.  The next day, the man chanced upon the madman to whom he had been talking.
“I am most grieved over your loss,” said the madman, “but I tried to warn you.”
The man, in his grief, pushed the madman away.  “You would have done it, if you could, madman.  Perhaps you were in on the scheme.”
“I was not, good sir, and in fact I tried to stop the unfortunate murder, but you wouldn’t listen to me.  But listen to me now!  The enemy wishes to strike again!  Take my council, and allow me to come into your home, and guard your family while you sleep!”
“Surely you must be jesting,” said the good man.  “Why would I allow a known madman into my home, even if he did have the ability to protect my family?  You would certainly do the deed yourself, once you have access to my home.”
“Indeed I would not.  I am a reformed madman, you see.  I no longer wish to destroy, but to build up.  I need an opportunity to show I have changed.  Therefore, I offer this compromise:  I will only stay in those parts of the home that you designate for me.  I will not trespass those bounds; we can sign a contract to that effect, and if I step one toe into a forbidden area, then you may take me to the authorities and have me locked up.  Remember that I know these enemies of yours, and that I alone am able to anticipate their next moves, and to stop them.”
The man agreed, and the two signed a contract that prohibited the madman from entering certain areas of the goodman’s home.  That night, the goodman heard commotion coming from the madman’s area of the home, and he went to investigate.  When he turned on the light, he found the madman, covered in blood, standing over the bodies of two men dressed in black.
“Do you see, goodman,” said the madman, “how wise you were to trust me?  I have defeated two of your enemies.  Unfortunately some of the group got away.  I would advise you to check on your family, just in case.”
The man did so, but his family was safe, and the man felt grateful.
The next night, however, his second oldest daughter was brutally murdered.  In grief and anger, the good man approached the madman. 
“Our deal is off,” he said.  “It is nerve wracking enough to have  a madman in my home, but when he does keep his end of the bargain, then I think that I can find a better way to protect my family.”
“It is indeed a grievious blow to my honor, to have allowed the enemies in,” protested the madman, “but it is not entirely my fault.  You see, by our contract, I did not have access to the part of the home through which the enemies entered last night.  My hands, as it were, were tied, and I could not protect your family as I might have.  If could be so bold, you would do well to amend the contract, and allow me access to your whole house.  Only then can I truly protect you.”
The good man agreed, and revised the previous contract to allow the madman access to all areas of the house, for he was so grief stricken that he had lost all wisdom.
The next night, his third oldest daughter was brutally murdered.  In a rage, the man stormed to the madman, and demanded justice.
“You shall have it, good man,” said the madman softly, “for I have determined the location of your enemies’ home.  It is here, on this map that I drew.  If you hurry, you can catch them sleeping, for they have had a long night, murdering your daughter.”
Taking his gun, the man crossed the river, and murdered the family that lived in the house indicated on the map by the madman.  He returned, covered in blood, to his own home, only to find that his wife and remaining daughters had been brutalized and murdered in his absence.  Standing over their bodies was the madman, who was laughing wildly.
“What is this, madman?” cried the man.  “Have you slain my entire family after all?”
“No, my good man,” mocked the madman.  “You have murdered them, by trusting a madman.  And now, you are in my power, for you, yourself have become a madman, and slaughtered an innocent family on my words alone.  Listen! Hear the sirens of those who are coming to arrest you!  Look out that window, and see them!”
The man looked, and felt the blade of the madman enter his back, and heard last the madman’s laughter.

Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.


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