I'm looking for the original story of a tale I've been told years ago back in high school by my history teacher.

A worker in France was working on a church and lost his balance and fell. He landed on an aristocrat and survived. The aristocrat died instantly. The family of the aristocrat demanded reparations, but it was judged an Act of God and if the family wanted reparations they were given the option to jump from the same church with the worker standing below it. Nobody wanted reparations after that.

If you recognize this story, could you refer me to the source material?

  • 1
    Why do you think it's a myth? And if it is a myth, why would there be source material? Either it actually happened (perhaps with the story being somewhat distorted over the years), in which case it's not a myth, or it didn't.
    – jamesqf
    Jan 1, 2019 at 18:07
  • 3
    It sounds like a just-so story. It lacks (a) names of the individuals involved, (b) it lacks a location, (c) it lacks dating. What it does have is a moral: don't ask for what you don't want. It might, just maybe, be based on some elements of truth, but none of them necessarily appear in the tale as told. Jan 2, 2019 at 0:27
  • IIRC, in the New Testament there is a part when Satan tempts Jesus, and one of those temptations was proding Jesus to throw himself from somewhere high so that the angels would catch him (I fail to see how much of a temptation it is if Satan is not going to do any of the work, but anyway...) Wouldn't that be a pausible source for the idea?
    – SJuan76
    Jan 2, 2019 at 19:41
  • that is a good point. When it was told to me it did name the church it happened with and the year but I didn't verify it back then and I can't remember what church it was. But it does sound like a story with a moral that doesn't need to be true, I guess I'll have to ask it if I ever see that teacher again. Jan 3, 2019 at 7:21
  • well turns out that teacher died a couple years ago. Oct 26, 2020 at 21:47


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