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The Power of Patience (15 of 17)
Series: The Epistle of James
After the fall of France when it was realized that England was the last fortress of freedom in Europe, there was a fable that spread across the continent that gave great hope to the British, the French and other captive peoples.
The story related that in July 1940, when England faced the enemy alone, Hitler invited Churchill to Paris for a secret conference. Churchill arrived by plane and was escorted to the Chateau of Fontainebleau, where Hitler and Mussolini awaited him at a tea table beside the famous carp pool.
The Fuhrer lost no time. "Here is what I've got to say to you, Churchill: England is finished. Sign this document admitting that England has lost the war, and all Europe will have peace tomorrow!"
"I regret that I cannot sign it," replied Churchill quietly. "I don't agree that we have lost the war."
"Ridiculous!" exclaimed Hitler, pounding the table. "Look at the evidence!"
Churchill sipped his tea. "In England," he said, "we often settle a difference of opinion by making a wager. Would you like to make one with me? The loser will agree that he has lost the war."
"What's the bet?" asked the Fuhrer suspiciously.
"You see those big carp in the pool? Well, let's wager that the first to catch one without using any of the usual fishing equipment will be declared winner of the war."
"It's a bet," snapped Hitler, who at once whipped out a revolver and emptied it at the nearest carp. But the water deflected the bullets, and the carp swam on undisturbed.
"It's up to you, Musso!" growled Hitler. "They tell me you're a great swimmer - in you go!"
The Duce shed his clothes and jumped into the pool; but try as he would, the carp slipped through his grasp. At last, exhausted, he clambered out empty-handed.
"It's your turn, Churchill," Hitler rasped. "Let's see what you can do!"
Churchill calmly dipped his teaspoon into the pool and tossed t ...
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