“Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief”, well it was like that with Taffy. From his earliest days, Taffy was always the same. Steal the eye out of a needle. If something was bolted down, Taffy always had a spanner with him.
Taffy’s life seemed to be charmed. He never got caught. He always managed to sidestep the law. The shed at the bottom of his back garden was a mass of hot property. The door was always locked. Even though his back garden backed onto the local cemetery, he did not trust anybody.
Now things were getting a bit tough on Taffy. Past middle age, he was still a small time petty thief. He had to work hard to sell all the stuff he had knocked off. He could not sell it anywhere local because, as sure as eggs, somebody would recognise it. Taking it to the Trash and Treasure Market a couple of towns away was getting expensive, time consuming and for little return.
One day, while Taffy was reading the paper and having his morning coffee, he got a bright idea. He read an article how, in America, somebody got away with a million dollars in a heist. Now our Taffy was not the most literate chap in the neighbourhood, but once he had worked out a ‘heist’ was actually a robbery, he started to put a plan together.
He strolled down the back yard and looked over the fence at the graveyard. There were rows and rows of head stones, all with names and dates on them. Now if he could steal an identity from some ancient head stone, in his way of thinking, there was less chance of getting caught. Well, it seems that was what the robbers in America did.
He jumped the back fence and strolled along the rows. The Sexton was finishing off cleaning up the most recent grave, when he saw Taffy approach,
“Morning Taffy.” Well of course the Sexton knew Taffy. Being neighbours for so long, Taffy had pilfered most of the Sexton’s tools, over time
“Morning Sexton, tell me, where are the oldest headstones in this cemetery?”
“Over yonder in far corner. Here, hang on a moment, I will show you.”
In the far corner there was a well-kept grave and on the headstone was simply written:
Everybody knew and loved Moses
But nobody knew much about him
A more kindly and honest man
Nobody has ever known.
“Thank you. Sexton.” Taffy’s evil mind began to work. The words ‘kindly and honest’ were just what he needed for his identity. Tomorrow he would start to build it.
Taffy retired at the usual time and went into a deep sleep. During the night, he had a dream. A wiry old man with a full beard, dressed in robes, stood at the end of his bed. He had a stone slab tucked under his arm. He spoke in a booming voice,
“Taffy, you dishonest Welsh scoundrel, if you are choose to follow down the path of corruption, do not take my name in vain. Use your own miserable name. Leave the honest folk out of your mendacious life. I will leave you God’s code of life. Maybe you can learn from it.”
And the figure disappeared. Taffy woke up. He sat bolt upright. The dream was so vivid, he became frightened. He broke out in a cold sweat. After a while he again lay down and eventually went into a troubled sleep. He dreamed of being thrown into a dungeon, cast into a burning pit of fire and boiled in oil.
He awoke early the next morning and got out of bed. It was not fully daylight when he walked toward the door. He stubbed his toe on something rather heavy, something that shouldn’t have been on the floor. He looked to see a slab of stone lying in the middle of the room. Chiselled along the top of it:
The Ten Commandments
Along with it, was a hand written note:
Taffy, take heed of Commandment VIII
To stay in the tune of the Commandments, I have rewritten the old Nursery Rhyme:
Taffy was a Welshman,
Taffy was a thief,
Taffy came to my place and stole a lump of beef,
I went to Taffy’s place and Taffy was in bed,
So I took the pok..,
But then I remembered Commandment V
And forgave the guy instead.