A man, reading a book by candle-light, came across a sentence which stated that men with long beards were fools.
This distressed the man because he had a long beard himself.
He had always thought the beard made him look scholarly and dignified, but now he began to wonder if perhaps he had not been labouring under a delusion.
He decided to do away with the beard there and then and gathering it up in his hands, held the tip to the candle flame.
It caught fire and burnt faster than he had expected. In a moment the beard was all gone.
Then a spark leapt up into the hair on his head and before he knew what was happening, the hair on his head was reduced to ash. His cry of alarm brought his neighbours running.
They were shocked to see his scorched face and the smoke curling up from his head.
“What happened?” they asked, dowsing him with water.
“Whatever was to have happened, has happened,” said the man, sadly. “I read that men with long beards were fools and I behaved like one.”