Thieves by nature

There were three thieves who had completed their jail terms and were due to be released one particular evening. At the appointed hour they passed out of the prison gates and found themselves in the street. Since it was already quite dark, they decided that instead of going back to their respective homes, they would spend the rest of the night just outside the walls of the prison.

It was a cold night and the three emancipated thieves lay down on the ground close to one another. One of their jailbird friends who had been watching them from the window of his cell saw that they had no blanket, so he handed his own blanket to the guard and asked him to go and give it to his three friends. The guard willingly agreed. He was deeply impressed by the selflessness and kindness of this particular prisoner.

The guard offered the three men the blanket and then he went back to his station. In a few minutes’ time, he observed that the thief who was sleeping on the far right had tugged the blanket to such an extent that it covered only him, and not the other two. He was sleeping comfortably, but the others were shivering.

After another thirty minutes had passed, the guard saw the man in the middle grab the blanket and wrap himself up in it very tightly. Now the other two were cold and miserable.

The guard waited to see what would happen next. Another thirty minutes passed and he saw the thief on the extreme left reach over and pull the blanket quite violently. Then he covered himself from head to toe and went to sleep. This kind of pulling and tugging went on all night.

When morning finally dawned, the thieves got up and started to leave for their homes. All of a sudden, the guard came over and arrested all three. He said, “I can see that you are not going to change your nature. You three are thieves to the very core!”

He put them back into jail and then he went to the cell of the sympathetic prisoner who had donated his blanket. The guard said to this man, “You have a good heart. You are extremely kind and sympathetic. You have shown that your thieving days are over. Therefore, I am allowing you to go free. You may gather your things and leave today. But, alas, your friends have not learned their lesson at all!”