Blaming an enemy

He wriggled his back against the tree a bit, and narrowed his eyes. ‘A better story,’ he said, ‘There was a rich farmer – rich enough to have slaves to work the fields.’ We nodded, envious. Imagine that. Not working under the hot sun. ‘And he had his field sowed with corn seed. And it came up, nice green, and so so thick. Then, horrors. A servant, walking by the field, realised the horrible truth. Darnel! Looks just like wheat when it is young. Good for nothing, though, and once it is far enough up to tell it from the wheat – well!’

We paused to consider. Horrible situation. Try to weed it out, and you would grub out a lot of wheat too. Leave it in, and it was shading out the wheat. ‘So nothing for it, but tell the master. And you tell me, what do you think is going on?’

‘Well, they do say that sometimes your enemies will sow darnel in a field, just to do you down.’

‘Um, and when do you think they would do it? At dead of night when nobody would see?’

‘Not in my village,’ laughed Matthew, ‘What, creeping out at night? Listen, if his wife did not beat him round the head with a cooking pot for looking for a fancy woman, it would be all round the village the next day that he had been up to some kind of mischief, and just what would be the subject of wild rumours for weeks. Once the darnel came up, he would get the blame, whether or not it was his fault.’

‘In the daytime?’

‘Then everybody would see!’

‘So?’ invited Jesus.

‘Teacher, everybody knows weeds do not need sown. Weeds just happen. That is farming. We wish it was not, but it is.’

‘What can you do?’

‘You are best to wait. Wait till harvest, I reckon. Pull out the darnel then, and use if for kindling. Beat the seed out of the wheat.’

‘Well,’ said Jesus, ‘I think I will tell the story and have the rich man blame his enemies. that will get a laugh. Get it remembered. But you – you remember you simply cannot go through life blaming other people and trying to pull out all the faults and inconveniences of the world. You do more harm than good.’

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