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Presumed Prophets

SOCIETY-PAOLO-BRANCA[2]smileKeep your smile! Here another story for you …

There are countless episodes of men who claimed to be Prophets and were brought before the authorities who unfailingly asked them to perform a miracle not to be accused of imposture and then punished.

One asked for a woman to be brought to him and he would have made her pregnant simply by looking into her eyes. As no women were available, they brought him a goat. He tried to make off, but he was stopped and explained: “I was just going to tell the Angel Gabriel that you don’t need a Prophet but a ram!”

Another was challenged to perform the miracle of Abraham who did not die when he was thrown into a fire. Or that of Moses who turned a staff into a snake. Or, in the last place, that of Jesus who brought the dead back to life. He decided to perform the last miracle and asked the chamberlain to be decapitated, promising that he would have brought him back to life. The  potential victim immediately said that he believed in his miracle-working virtues, arousing the hilarity of the whole court.

In a variant of this, the presumed Prophet asked to make the vizir’s wife pregnant, with a miraculous child being born. “I believe you: no evidence is necessary – said the vizir – and let the man who has no faith in you lend you his wife for the experiment!”.

Yet another one, who claimed to be Jesus, was told: “The only way you resemble him is because everybody knows who your mother is but nobody knows who your father is!”

Perhaps to console themselves for not having authority, some did not hesitate to show the bizarre sides of power, like the joker who asked Harun al-Rashid: “If you were without water, what would  you give to have some?”. He  answered: “Half of my kingdom”. “And if you could not empty your bladder, what would you give to be able to do so?”. “The whole of my kingdom!” the sovereign quickly replied. “Is it worth killing yourself for a power, half of which is worth a drink and all together is only worth a piss?” asked the first man, making the caliph burst out laughing.

Smile! See you next week.

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