A Prudent Investment
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A priest was walking down the streets of Venice. With him was a bronzed travel-hardened man.
The priest asked,"Marco, now that you are free from the Genoans do you intend to continue your wanderings"
Marco said,"No, I have had enough of errantry. I wish to settle down and live like a normal person. The first thing I would like to do is handle this bit of business". He gave the priest a small bag.
The priest looked in,"What is this for?" he said.
Marco said, "It is for those who work the trade routes. I saw it at Cathay, I saw it in the wilderness, and I see it here. People hire men to carry their wares and dismiss them when they are not needed. When they are to old for the hardships they are tossed into the street to beg or starve. By land or by sea, in Christian lands and pagan, I have seen it."
The priest said,"Aye, that is indeed a worthy cause. Why do you wish me to carry it out?'
Marco said,"You are an honest man. Some priests use their status to swindle the Faithful, and squander their generosity on their own pleasure or on plotting to gain power. You do not do so"
The priest smiled, "Ah, the prudent merchant keeps an eye on his investment?"
Marco said,"There is more. There are things I wish to confess that I do not desire to confess to just any priest."
The priest said, "I would certainly be willing to perform that service. But don't be downcast. I have done things I regret as well and I have not had your temptations. As I recall you spent several years traveling and then stayed at the court of the most powerful ruler in the world for seventeen years. If I knew of any that could do that and not have something to be ashamed of I would hold him worthy of sainthood. You are a good man, a good citizen, and a good Christian Marco and if Christ had only room for saints, his Kingdom would be a small hamlet. Be at peace."
"Thank you father", said Marco.
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