An award-winning missionary magazine

The Good Forger

Tourists from Lima, Peru, who go down to the selva (bush) are hungry for souvenirs to take home.

They look for old artifacts, heavy stones, and brass objects and ecstatically admire the works reminiscent of the ancient civilizations of the Cordillera and beyond/or thereabouts. One day, Fr. Alois decided to play a prank on a tourist who insisted on having authentic artifacts.

As a youth, he had learned the art of working silver and decided to put it to good use. From an old large silver coin, he made a small bracelet on which he engraved some signs at random, well-made. Then, he buried it and waited for a year for the return of fussy tourists.

He presented him with the greenish and soil-be-smattered bracelet. The tourist opened his eyes in amazement and exclaimed: “How wonderful! What refined work! I am certain that the signs do not hark back to the ancient Inca culture, but it must be older, perhaps 3,000–4,000 years old.”

He asked the missionary: “Would you be willing to deprive yourself? How much would you ask for it?” Simulating an indifference that came not from a quiet conscience, Fr. Alois replied: “How much do I want? Give what you wish!” In that way, the fake masterpiece earned the mission a considerable sum of money. 

Read These Next

A Strange Supper

A Brother prepared soup for the two priests who were coming back from the outstations. As they delayed, he went to visit a family for a chat.

“Mum, who’s that Clown?”

Once upon a time, the clerical collar was not yet known in Italy. All the good friars were roaming around in cassocks. Occasionally, it happened that some of them, for reasons of study or work, had to…

A Trickery Meal

Fr. Cervetto got used to living alone in Darfur (which later became a war zone in Sudan), so he would eat little and adapt himself to the food served when eating with others.

Share Your Thoughts

Loading Conversation

Sign up for the newsletter

Getting your own copy of "Friends of the Mission" is free. Sign up with your complete address to get one delivered right to your doorstep.

Kindly double check that the information you entered is correct and accurate. Thank you!