Two Monks and the River

It was early morning, and the two monks set out on their last day's journey back to their monastery.

At mid-morning they came upon a shallow river, and on the bank there stood a beautiful young maiden in a lovely silk kimono.

"May I help you cross?" asked the first Monk. "That way your garment won't get soiled."

"Why, yes, that would be most kind of you," replied the maiden, bowing politely.

So the first Monk hoisted the maiden on his back and carried her across the river. Once across, they bowed and went their separate ways.

A few minutes later, after the maiden was out of earshot, the second Monk said to the first Monk, "I can't believe you did that! I just can't believe it! We take vows of chastity, and you touched a woman. You even asked her! I know that touching a woman doesn't break our vow, but what's the Abbot to think? This is awful."

Several hours passed and the second Monk erupted again. "How could you do that? She didn't even ask. You offered! What are we going to tell the Abbot when we get home? He's going to ask how our journey was, and we can't lie. What are we going to say?"

By late afternoon the two were nearing their monastery, and the second Monk, now filled with anxiety, said, "I can't believe you did that! You touched a woman. You even carried her on your back. We must think of something to tell the Abbot. He's going to be so angry we'll be working in the onion garden for the rest of our lives."

The first Monk stopped, looked at the second Monk and said, " Listen,it's true that I carried that maiden across the river. But I left her at the river bank hours ago. You've been carrying her all day."