Hot Times in Old France

"Joan the Witch, a priest is here to see you through your final hour," the prison guard announced as he fumbled with his keys.

"It's Joan of Arc," the young maiden protested. "I am not a witch."

"Have it your way," the guard muttered, swinging the cell door open. He had been on the job too long to let anything faze him.

Joan rose hopefully as a kindly looking priest entered. Then her heart sank when he was followed by a man in black who was obviously her executioner.

"Peace be with you, my dear," the holy man said, making the sign of the cross.

"Father, you must help me!" Joan cried. "God cannot have such a cruel fate in store for His most humble devotee."

"Have faith, child. Our Lord acts in mysterious ways. Try to look on the bright side. Today a martyr, tomorrow Heroine of France. Maybe someday even a saint. That's the way the karma yo-yo swings."

"But I don't want to die!"

"That cannot be avoided. However, this good man has promised to make the fire especially hot. So you won't suffer too much."

The frightened girl turned desperately to the executioner. "Isn't there something you can do for me?"

"Well," the old life-taker said thoughtfully. "Instead of burning you at the stake, I could chop your head off with my ax. That won't hurt at all."

"See, I told you there was a bright side," the priest smiled broadly. "You have your choice of steak or chops."