Making the Best of Death by Torture

A band of Iroquois natives captured a Jesuit missionary in the Ontario wilderness in the 17th century. The Jesuit expected — as was the custom with captured missionaries by this particular tribe of Indians — to be tortured for several days and then finally burnt to death.

In case you don’t know… death by fire is very slow and painful. The Jesuit wasn’t looking forward to that. Plus, a week of torture, beforehand, wasn’t much to his liking either.

It was one of those let this cup passeth me by moments.

“Before you begin your torture,” said the French priest to the Iroquois, “I have something of great value to you.”

“What’s that?” they asked.

“A magic ointment that would make you invincible in battle,” said the Jesuit. He took from his bag a bottle filed with a paste. “Any part of your body will become invincible when you apply this holy ointment.”

“Show us,” they said. “Show us how your magic ointment works.”

“Very well,” said the Jesuit, “but if I prove to you it’s magic and show you how to make your own, do you promise to let me live?”

“Yes,” they promised.

“On your word,” asked the priest.

“On our word,” said the Indians.

“Alright,” said the Jesuit. He put his hand in the bottle and scooped up the ointment spreading it all over his neck. Have your strongest man thrust his tomahawk as fast and as hard as he can at my bare neck.

The Indians looked at each other in amazement. But they motioned to a tree stump. The Jesuit calmly walked over and placed his head down. One of the Indians raised his axe and brought it down…

…and the Jesuit’s head rolled away — the rest of his body falling dead to the ground.

This story was adapted by John C.A. Manley. He helps his 10-year old son, Jonah produce short theatrical productions on YouTube. Ranging from funny poetry to full-length Shakespeare speeches, Jonah’s work has been featured on radio and watched by viewers around the world. You can visit his site at www.JonahsWorld.net

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