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Main Page The great Gospel of John Volume 6 GGJ06-115 Chapter

Chapter 115 - The thieves of the raft.

115,1. When Peter had spoken such, one could see several rafts which were rowed downstream in order to sail faster than the flow rate of the water.

115,2. Then Peter asked Jored and said: “Friend, why are they rowing which is not normally done on a river which anyway has a quick run-off?”

115,3. Said Jored: “These raft-men probably want to reach Samosata still today. It is here an old custom that raft-men can pass here tax free as long the sun has not gone under; however, if they arrive and the sun has already gone down, they must land here and pay the toll, otherwise they will be penalized. See, this is the reason why they are driving their rafts so quickly downstream! If they continue like that they will easily reach Samosata within two hours and still reach it within the penalty-free time. Half an hour later they would have to pay a penalty there. See, this is how things are!”

115,4. Said Peter: “Yes, but why a penalty? With me at the Galilean Sea ships can come and go as they please without paying any penalties; for one cannot help it if coincidental or unforeseen obstacles occur, by which the progress on water can be delayed. Why then a penalty?”

115,5. Said Jored: “Friend, indeed, you are right in your own way; but also this penalty is right and just. Since all water travellers on this mighty stream up to where it becomes navigable by ship, know exactly at each water level how long it will take from their place of departure to reach their destination in time. If they do not keep to this order they easily could have an accident during a journey extending too deep into the night, since the stream has many quite dangerous places where even old experienced skippers must take care to pass unharmed. At night it will be quite difficult to pass such places without accident. To prevent accidents as far as possible occurring by the nonobservance of the generally known river travel laws, these river travel laws have been sanctioned with the consent of the emperor to impose an appropriate money- or goods penalty on the transgressors. These penalties are then used to maintain landing places and to remove coincidentally originating obstacles in the stream, for which purpose also the water toll moneys and landing taxes are used. And see, friend, also this is a just matter?!”

115,6. But now I say: “Friend Jored, what happens then when for example - as it is here the case - rafts which already bound together on the water and are standing ready for departure at a certain time, are stolen by thieves at nighttime who neutralize the raft guards, untie the rafts and then quickly drive away, what is now at the somewhat higher water level quite possible?”

115,7. Said Jored: “Lord, what are you saying?! If so, we have to stop them immediately and try to arrest them! They are coming close to our location now!”

115,8. Said I: “Just leave it at that; they would have passed long ago if I had not hindered their progress despite their hard work! They nevertheless are coming now very slowly close to us and we will know how to detain them!”

115,9. Said Jored: “Now wait, you evil rogues, your handiwork will be stopped! - Lord, have they even murdered the raft guards?”

115,10. Said I: “Indeed, but these consisted in watchdogs. These animals defended the rafts fiercely and two of the thieves were bitten by them; but finally these animals had to succumb to the blows of the thieves, were thrown into the water and the thieves quickly untied the rafts and drove away before the people, who were awakened by the barking of the dogs, arrived. They immediately followed them on water and on land but until now were not able to catch up with them. Those on the water will show up soon; however those on land will not arrive here before midnight totally exhausted. We will pull these rafts onto shore as soon as the sun goes down, which will take place right now, and you, Jored, will claim through your officials the landing fee! In the mean time the pursuing owners of these rafts will also arrive and this will become quite an extraordinary story! Let your officials walk to the shore; for the thieves will soon land at the shore because I want it this way!”

115,11. Jored now quickly instructed his officials and they went and awaited the rafts but without knowing what kind of people the rafts-men were. The first raft came close to shore and the official demanded from the four rafts-men the money.

115,12. However, the rafts-men said: “We wanted to go further, - but an invisible power prevented us and pulled us towards this shore; therefore we are not going to pay since we have been prevented to travel further without our will. We also have no money and will only pay our fee when we come back.”

115,13. Said the official: “This is not acceptable to us! If you cannot or does not want to pay, the rafts have to remain here in the mean time as collateral, until you can redeem them!”

115,14. Then the rafts-men decided to pay; but they should be allowed to carry on because they were very skilful night sailors.

115,15. But the official denied them such request and said: “Pay up and leave tomorrow at the legal time! If you do not pay right now, if you have money, you will have to pay in the morning three times as much!”

115,16. When the raft thieves heard this they nevertheless paid and tied the rafts to shore; but they did not wanted to leave the rafts. The same also happened with the five following rafts, and when the landing fee was paid, one already could see the raft with eight people who also rowed arduously downstream, following the stolen six rafts. It didn’t take more than a couple of moments and the raft landed at our shore.

115,17. These eight rafts-men immediately recognized their stolen rafts and said with rage-glowing eyes: “Now we have you, you for quite some time well known bad scoundrels?! Just wait, your stealing of rafts have come to an end for all times! This wood is destined for Serrhe for an important building and we ourselves have transported it at great expense from Cappadocia, namely from Arasaxa, Tonosa and Zaona up to Lacotena in Mesopotamien, where we live, and you unscrupulous scoundrels wanted to steal it from us in such disdainfully manner, without considering your own safety that you could not get away from us with this heavy wood and that we have the means to pursue you deeply into India! This time you will not escape your just punishment!”

115,18. Hereupon they saw the to them well known tax collector Jored, went to him and told him everything.

Main Page The great Gospel of John Volume 6 GGJ06-115 Chapter