The Two Cripples That Decided to Commit Suicide

In a village there dwelt two young men, one of whom was blind and the other lame. As champions in adversity they would sit together in the market place and beg for food; but the more fortunate villagers ordered them to leave and find their living in another place.

The blind man used his sound legs to carry his friend into the forest, and the lame man used his eyes to direct his companion along the road. When hunger came to them the lame man saw a bowl of palm oil in a tree, and instructed his blind friend to climb up and steal it.

The blind man climbed the tree and took the bowl, but fell with it, so that the two men were soaked in the stolen oil: and they discussed what they should do.

“If people find us they will kill us,” said one, “for we have stolen oil.”

“It is little difference whether we are killed or starved to death,” observed the other.

“Ours will be a cruel and bloody death,” the first insisted, “if people find us here.”

“Then since we must die anyway, let us drown ourselves.”

They both agreed to this, and went down to the river. When the lame man saw the dark and uninviting waters he felt afraid; but he also saw a large stone at his feet, and said to his companion:

“I will be the first to jump into the river.”

“Well and good,” the blind man said. “I bid you fond farewell; we will meet in heaven or in hell.”

The lame man then took the heavy stone and threw it in the river. There was a loud splash, and then silence. The blind man waited for some time, and a thought came to his mind: ‘when a man drowns in a river one usually hears the sounds of struggling; yet I have heard but a single splash. Has my friend jumped in, or did he only cast a stone? I do not wish to die alone.’

Now, the Spirit of the River was looking on this scene with some amusement, but neither of the men could know this. The blind man heard a slight sound at his side, and beat in that direction with his stick. He hit his friend.

They started fighting. They rolled about upon the river band, scratching, hitting, kicking, biting, till dust arose in clouds and small creatures fled in dear. The River Spirit laughed and laughed, for such a thing he had not seen in years: and with a word he gave the blind man sight, and healed the lame man’s legs.

When the two men realized what had taken place they were once more friends; they returned to their village and labored side by side for a whole year. The fruit of the labors they offered as a giant sacrifice on the river bank, and lived in happiness and wealth until they died.