Some years ago, a criminal case came up for hearing before the district court of a small town in North Germany. It was against an old farmer’s wife, who had been summoned before the judge on a charge of fraud. The old woman created a good impression; her slightly wrinkled face looked sincere and frank.
Turning to the farmer’s wife the judge said, `You are charged with continuous fraud. You have just heard the indictment of the public prosecutor that since along time you have been daily supplying baker Weber only one and three-quarter pounds of butter instead of two pounds which he paid for, what do you have to say for that?’
The farmer’s wife replied without any hesitation that this could not be possible. She had always weighed the butter most accurately.
`Do you have a pair of scales at home?’ the judge Asked.
`Yes, a very fine of scales, almost brand new,’ said the accused with modest pride.
`Have you also got correct weight?’ the judge asked again. She said that she also had those. But her youngest grandson had misplaced them by playing or perhaps lost them in the garden. At any rate she had not been able to find them.
`Still you claim to have weighed the butter correctly all the time?’
`Yes absolutely, Your Honor.’
`You must explain this clearly to the court. How could you do this?’
`Well, it was like this, I had been purchase bread from baker Weber for many years…’
`Stick to the point! We are talking of butter over here and not of bread,’ the judge said impatiently.
`But try to understand me, your Honor’, replied the farmer’s wife, without losing her composure, and then she related that every day she purchased a two pound loaf of brown bread from the baker who got the butter from her. She had always placed the loaf of bread weighing two pounds in one pan, and the butter on the other, till the two pans balanced each other.
With those words the accused produced a loaf of bread from her handbag and handed it over to the judge as proof. A pair of scales was immediately produced and the bread was weighed. Now everybody saw that the bread weighed 1.5 grams less. They all laughed, because the baker had himself deceived others. The farmer’s wife was acquitted.
The world is full of people who demand justice for themselves but will not give out of the sane others. Justice is truth in action. Abraham Lincoln used to say: `My great concern is not whether God on our side; my great concern is to be God’s side.’