The Power of Thieves and Liars

The Chief Thief and the Prince of Liar lived together in a house, and neither could agree which possessed the greatest power for causing mischief. They decided they would have a competition and Thief set out to do his best, or worst.

He entered a prosperous town by night, a town where many rich men lived. He crept into homes, stole money and jewels, carried off chickens and clothes and food, drove off the cattle and goats and sheep, took all the totems and kidnapped the Chief’s favorite wife.

What palaver there was in the morning! Women arose to light fires and raised the alarm instead: their husbands seized spears and rushed through the town seeking culprits and shouting excitedly; the Chief called for his wife, and his pipe, and his sword, but all had mysteriously disappeared. Thief laughed and laughed and went home to Liar.

“Is that all you can do?” asked Liar. “Can you only cause confusion in the town? Well, now I’ll show you what the Prince of Liars can do!”

He went to a place where two great town lay close together; they were ruled by powerful chiefs called Saa and Numa. In one of these towns he befriended the wife of Chief Saa. This woman often quarreled with her husband, who was cruel, and Liar confided to her that he had magic powers which could make her husband respect and love, and cause him to agree with anything which she suggested. The woman was delighted to hear this.

“I know a certain medicine,” said Liar, “which will make your husband love you as he never love before. But to make this medicine I must have some hair from his belly.”

He urged the woman to take a knife cut hair from her husband while he slept, and she agreed to do this that very night.

Liar approached Chief Saa, the woman’s husband and to him he said:“O Chief, I heard the women talking, and I know your wife is planning to murder you tonight. Take care, and watch her closely lest you die!”

Chief Saa was surprised to hear this, and decided to wait and see if Liar’s words were true. Chief Saa’s wife was the sister of Chief Numa who ruled the neighboring town, and now Liar went and talked with the second Chief.

“Chief Numa,” he said, “your sister is married to Chief Saa, and Chief Saa intends to murder her tonight. Send guards in secret, after dark, so that your sister may have aid if she should need it.”
Chief Numa frowned in wonder when he heard this; for if his sister was thus murdered the two great towns would go to war. He sent guards secretly to hide by Chief Saa’s house.

That night Chief Saa and his wife lay down on their bed to sleep; and when she thought her husband slept she took a long sharp knife from underneath the bed. But the Chief was not asleep, and he saw the long blade gleaming.

She began to cut hair from his tender belly.

“Warrgh!” he cried. “Fiend!”

He swept her hand aside, and as the blade slashed her leg she shrilled in pain. Chief Numa’s guards became alarmed and beat upon the door. Chief Saa’s own soldiers came. Fighting broke our. A courier ran to Numa, and he assembled his men and rushed headlong into battle with the warriors of Saa.

A violent battle ensued and lasted for seven days and nights. Both of the towns were burned and the women and children killed. Other peoples entered the fight and heavy slaughter followed until all villages and towns were burned and the land was ravaged, dead and smelled of blood.

Thieves can steal and plunder, but the wickedness of liars know no end.