Vol.XX No.III Pg.1
May 1983

Official Swearer

Robert F. Turner

In "Safed and Keturah," by William E. Barton, John Knox Press; Safed becomes Official Swearer and Scolder. We have condensed this to fit space.


They laid a water pipe in the road; and the soil was stubborn and rocky. And when the men came for to dig, I took a Spade and digged with them. Likewise did I with the Pick and the Crowbar. And the men said, Thou canst do work such as we do save it be only in one thing. For if we strike more Rock than we expected, or if the water flow into our trench, or if peradventure it cave in so that we must dig it out again, canst thou do thy part of the Swearing?

And I answered and said, I will do it all. And they said, It is liable to be a Large Contract. And when the ditch caved in, or the water stood in the trench so they had to pump it out, or they struck rock and had to blast, then did they say one to another, Swear not, for that is Safed's job.

And thus it came to pass that no Swearing was necessary, but only Muscle and Pumps and some Dynamite. Now I considered how many people there be who swear by the use of Profane words, or by the Slamming of Doors, or by Scolding, and I thought it would be well if there might be appointed an Official Swearer for all such occasions, and that he should consider the matter carefully before Swearing or Scolding and see if some other way would answer just as well. For if the digger strike rock, and must use Dynamite as well as swear, he might as well use Dynamite instead of Swearing. And if Kindness will do the work instead of Scolding, then is the Scolding wasted or maybe worse.

Therefore am I open to Employment wherever there is need, to take the responsibility of all the Swearing and all the Scolding that shall be required, and if it be left to me there will not be much of either.

For one should neither Swear nor Scold if there be any other way to accomplish the result desired; nor unless it is sure that Swearing or Scolding will do good. For there is a lot of wasted Swearing and Scolding; and to scold is to swear.