The thief who had taken the food before did not quit. All around their camp things would go missing, until they came to the point where they were in danger of running short on supplies. The thief was very careful and would always strike when it was least expected.

Finally they had a meeting to decide what should be done about the crook. Eveli recommended they keep all the food together, and keep a guard over it, until it was distributed out to the people.

Arralor disagreed with her. “If we do that, the thief will always know where the food is, and it will be easier to steal. Instead, we should divide it up and let each person carry their own food until they are ready to eat it.”

Ando, a large man with a protruding belly, supported Eveli. “We don’t know who the thief is, and if we split the food up, it will give the thief more opportunities to steal it. If we keep it in one place, we can select only a few that can be trusted to guard it. That way the thief will not be able to steal any without being seen.”

“I know who the thief is.” Everyone turned to look at Elma. Her statement had completely caught their attention. “I am sure it is Arnol,” she continued. “He is always singing and acting like a fool. He often makes light of suffering, making jokes and belittling people. He is the only one childish enough to do something like stealing food. I imagine he hides it away and eats it when no one is watching. He is clever enough to make sure no one sees him.”

“Don’t condemn others when you have no proof,” Anson said in defense of his friend. “Those who know Arnol well know he would never steal. Everyone knows how much you hate him, and I don’t doubt you would make up lies to make him seem as evil as you think he is.”

“You should not rebuke your elders, Anson,” said Lord Andor. “But I think the young man is right. We must not throw out accusations lightly. Before we condemn someone of a crime there needs to be indisputable evidence of it. I think Eveli’s plan is a good one, and she will be in charge of implementing it. If the thief is caught beyond doubt, then we will decide what to do.”


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