A Young Monk
AS heard on the Good Stuff with Jim Thompson

A new young monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to help the other monks in copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand. He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript.

 

So, the new monk goes to the abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up. In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.

 

The Abbot says, "We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son". So, he goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscript is held in a locked vault that hasn't been opened for hundreds of years. Hours go by and nobody sees the old abbot.

 

Eventually the young monk gets worried and goes downstairs to look for him. He sees him banging his head against the wall. His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is crying uncontrollably. The young monk asks the old abbot, "What's wrong, father?"

 

In a choking voice, the old abbot replies: "The word is celebrate, not celibate!"