I want to tell you a story. The fact that you will not believe it is a matter for your conscience and your ability to weigh up facts and discern what is true or not.
You know how sometimes we can be influenced by other people without realising it. Advertising works on that principle. They tell you something subtly and leave it to you to decide. And more often than not we may change our behaviour according to what others tells us.
Many years ago there was an anthropologist who studied all things relating to humanity, society, how people think and what influences them. He was particularly interested in suggestive thoughts whereby someone would behave in a way that has been subconsciously implanted in his mind. For example, a subject he had researched intensively, was putting a curse on someone. If someone puts a curse on somebody, does the effect of this curse come true or not? Is it possible to curse somebody? Or is the victim's behaviour changed to such an extent that he makes whatever fear he has come true?
His studies took this anthropologist to far away countries all over the world and he met various peoples and cultures and beliefs. He researched how some susceptible people can be influenced by others' threats like putting a curse on them.
One day, whilst he was in the jungle, he had heard stories about a river deep in the forest which had golden shrimps breeding on its shores. These shrimps were believed to be made of gold, albeit they were alive and living creatures like other fishes which inhabited that river. Legend has it that one day King Midas himself went by that river and bent down to drink. As he did so his hand touched a shrimp for a split second and turned the shrimp into gold; but the shrimp did not die. It swam away and started breeding a whole generation of golden shrimps only to be found in that river deep in the forest.
Also legend has it that King Midas put a curse on the shrimp and since that day anyone who catches or eats these golden shrimps will also be cursed and will die.
The anthropologist was intrigued that people of the forest believed such a story, and despite there being little food in the village, and people ate mostly plants, no one dared go fishing in the plentiful river in case they caught a shrimp accidentally and died.
In order to convince the villagers that this was only a fable, passed on to people from one generation to the next, with little truth in it, the anthropologist suggested that they accompany him to the river where he will fish for these shrimps. But none dared to go with him. They were all afraid of the curse of the golden shrimp.
Early one morning he left the village accompanied only by his guide and went in search for that river deep in the forest.
When they eventually got there he asked the guide to sit away from the river to appease his fears. The anthropologist then went to the shore and to his surprise found that the river was plentiful with millions of the golden shrimps. There were enough there to feed the villagers for many years and more.
It was such a shame that the villagers' belief in the curse prevented them from eating such a plentiful supply of shrimps and fish.
In order to convince them that all is safe the anthropologist put his hand in the river and picked up a shrimp. He showed it to the guide, and then slowly peeled the shrimp, and ate it.
The guide was petrified with fear. He stood up and shouted, "There is a curse on you! You have eaten a golden shrimp and now you will die!"
He then ran away back to the village to tell everyone what had happened and left the anthropologist all alone. The villagers kept well away from the river from that day onwards regardless of how hungry they were.
And now for the bit which I suspect you will find very hard to believe.
What did happen to the anthropologist? Was he affected by the curse of the golden shrimp?
Well sadly - YES he was. He died last year aged about 89. Apparently he was allergic to shell-fish and the shrimp he ate 60 years previously eventually finished him. The curse had finally killed him.