The Seller of Images
A CERTAIN MAN made religious trinkets and offered them for sale. When no one appeared willing to buy it, in order to attract purchasers, he cried out that he had the items were sacred and powerful, dipped in the blood of martyrs and whatnot. One of the bystanders said to him, "My good fellow, if they are as sacred as you describe, why do you peddle them on the street corner?"
"Why," he replied, "Why?! I am desperately fighting the soulless depravity of this degenerating civilization. Great evils flow all around us! They flow through us and we are corrupted!"
A crowd began to form as he continued louder and more dramatically. "Only the power of God can save you! But you must be willing and sincere! You must worship and beg for forgiveness! You must be absolved! You must give yourself to God!"
"I've trekked through the holy lands! I've seen the miracles! These sacred relics were delivered unto me by the almighty! For a modest price salvation could be within your grasp!"
The Seller of Images (original fable)
A CERTAIN MAN made a wooden image of Mercury and offered it for sale. When no one appeared willing to buy it, in order to attract purchasers, he cried out that he had the statue to sell of a benefactor who bestowed wealth and helped to heap up riches. One of the bystanders said to him, "My good fellow, why do you sell him, being such a one as you describe, when you may yourself enjoy the good things he has to give?" "Why," he replied, "I am in need of immediate help, and he is wont to give his good gifts very slowly."