Told by Donald R. McClarey at a meeting of the Dwight Rotary Club on September 12, 2001.
A thousand years ago a Caliph ruled an Eastern kingdom. He was highly intelligent, unremittingly cruel and a man who raised evil to an art form. Each year he would select a victim from among the wisest of his kingdom who would be ordered to give a speech on something that was always true. The Caliph then would refute the argument and have the speaker beaten to death. He had as his Vizier a man of conscience who did his best to thwart, or alleviate, the evil of his master. For years it amused the Caliph to allow his Vizier to attempt to bring good from his evil, but finally he tired of this sport and ordered the Vizier to give a speech revealing that which was always true. The Vizier was almost grateful that his time had come and now he could speak his mind.
“What is always true Sire? Why the Justice of God of course. It is ever the shield of the poor and weak, the oppressed and those who have no hope but God. Tyrants tremble before it. In this world or the next God always redresses the scales of justice and rewards good and punishes evil. Scoffers deny that the Justice of God exists, but it is as real as the air we breathe, the love of a parent for a child, and the moral sense that lives within each of our souls, no matter our sins. God is not mocked and His Justice is his ever present sword and shield that he wields in the affairs of Men.”
For 30 minutes the Vizier spoke and the face of the Caliph grew redder and redder, radiating hate and rage. When the Vizier finished, the Caliph raised his right arm to begin his refutation when he was felled by a mortal stroke. His Vizier came to his side seeking to aid him, though he knew that saving the Caliph’s life would end his own. When he saw that the Caliph was swiftly dying, he sent him into the next world with this observation: “The Justice of God Sire, it is frequently delayed, it is never denied.”