Castelluccio,one of Italy's most charming villages, was an abode to many folklores and people with simple tastes of life. Renowned for its natural beauty, especially in spring time when the red poppies and the yellow rapeseed would add a celestial feature to the scenery of the entire village, the people would consider themselves lucky to be part of it. The majority of the people were engaged in the tourism industry, who ran their own businesses. Marco Russo, a typical native of that place was one among many who was in the same race. Nevertheless, he was a bit different from the other people. He had a home stay where he would lodge tourists and cater their needs for food and lodging. But his home stay was completely a pure vegetarian as he didn't entertain the non-vegetarian dishes. He had some soft heart for the animals because of which he didn't serve those items. He was an omnivore in the past but since he realized that it's injustice to kill innocent animals for food, he became a pure herbivore. He would wake up in the morning, take a bath and get engaged in the worship of God. He considered himself to be the luckiest person for being devoted to the Almighty's service. It was his chore to spend nearly an hour in the praise of the Almighty thanking Him for every grace bestowed upon him. He also sang hymns, which provided him with spiritual relief for being connected to the super soul. He was on the path of non-violence as he was a vegetarian, and he felt happy that he was considerate towards the other animals' welfare. The feeling of spiritualism that he received doing all those things was an immense feeling for him. This made him believe that he was leading a life of devotion and spiritual sacredness.
It was at dusk when a couple came to his abode in quest of lodging and fooding.
'Buonasera signor,' (Good evening,sir)told the man.
'Good evening to you too, sir. How may I help you?' replied Marco.
'We are in need of a place to stay for tonight. I saw your house and wanted to inquire about it.'
'Yes, I do provide it. You will get a very cozy place and a delicious dinner but'.'
'But what, signor?'
But it's completely a vegetarian station.'
'Wow! Superb! Then I must say we are in the right place. We are vegetarians, too. What a beautiful coincidence!'
'Che dolce! Birds with same feathers have come to flock together. Just come in and I will show you your room.'
He took them inside and showed the room. It was a cozy room with purely country setting inside. From the windows of the room, beautiful scenery could be witnessed with enough passage of air.
'Marvelous', the man responded seeing the room and his wife was also amazed to see it.
Marco returned and busied himself in preparing food for his guests. He took great effort in making the foods as delicious as he could. After the cooking, it was served guests which they cherished fully as it was really delicious. The happiness and satisfaction reflected in their faces in every gulp of food highlighted this fact. Marco's hospitality had spell binding effect upon them and they thanked him whole heartedly for that. The next morning they departed and Marco gave them a souvenir, a painting of his village which he always used to give to those who came there.
Days passed on and Marco continued his life in the same way as he enjoyed doing what he used to do that provided him with a sort of joy and satisfaction. Once he had some work due to which he had to go to Norcia, a distant town. He set out early in the morning and reached his destination at noon. It was his debut to an urban area like Norcia. He enjoyed the sky scrapers, the malls, supermarkets and the shiny life of the city. Actually, he was there for meeting a man, Andrea De Luca, who had sent him inquiries a few weeks back expressing his interest if they could do something in collaboration. He had a travel agency and he always got several inquiries from people about some of the best country sides to visit. His main reason for contacting Marco was that he would refer people coming to his travel agency to Marco's home stay for which he would be provided a certain percentage of commission. Marco had liked the idea as it was a win-win situation for both of them and thus, he was there to meet Andrea and fix the deal. Marco followed the address that he was given and reached at Andrea's home. He was given a warm welcome by Andrea. Although they hadn't met each other previously, except small chitchats over the phone, they enjoyed each other's company. Andrea's wife, Valentina, served Marco in an atmosphere of heart luring hospitality which amazed him. Varieties of delicious foods were served. As they were having foods, Valentina asked Marco
'By the way, I've prepared meat as well. Why aren't you enjoying them?'
'Thank you for your effort but I don't eat non-vegetarian items. I have some kind of affinity with the animals and I don't find it good to consume them.'
'Well signor,' said Andrea 'I'm also an animal lover but my wife doesn't want me to keep anyone in my heart except she herself. Hence, I keep all the animals in the place closer to my heart, my stomach.'
As he said this, there was a burst of laughter and Marco didn't mind Andrea and his wife having meat as it was totally a matter of personal choice. Having finished the supper, everyone went to sleep. The next day when Marco got up, he performed his morning rituals as usual. Andrea and his wife had also woken up.
'Gentleman how was your night?' asked Andrea.
'A comfortable one', answered Marco.
'Signor, I forgot to tell you that I have another business as well. So before we come to the actual point of making a deal, let me handle another business. Then we will move together to my office for the deal.'
'All right. And that's the real sign of a millionaire as you have multiple sources of income' said Marco smiling.
Marco bade goodbye with Valentina and expressed his gratitude for the hospitality. He was also curious to know about the other business of Andrea. He was taken to a shutter a few blocks away from Andrea's home. By the time they reached there, the shutter was already opened .It was around 7 am. Marco saw a man with a sharp knife in his hands coming out of the shutter. On reaching there Andrea asked the man 'Is everything ready?'
'Yes', the man replied. Andrea took the knife and went back side of the shutter and Marco followed him. Having reached there, Andrea butchered a goat which shocked Marco. In course of doing so, Andrea's clothes were stained with blood. Marco, who was shocked to see this, asked Andrea
"You...you were saying... you had another business."
'This is the business I was talking about gentleman. I have a butcher house as well.'Andrea continued the knife work over the goat's body while conversing.
'And don't you get....don't you get sinned for this?" stammered Marco.
'Sinned? What are you talking about? It's my job.'
'A job that is started with a'.murder. Does '.does'..that give you the energy to spend your day normally? I'.I'.mean don't you feel sorry for it? Don't you worship God?'
'Common gentleman, I do but what's there to be worried about or what's the connection between my job and praying God?'
'You'. see'.I'.I start my day with prayer and you'.with knife'.blood'.butchering. Do you think you are virtuous enough?'
'You might have known the job of a hangman who hangs criminals everyday but have you ever seen any hangman repenting for hanging people or have you ever heard that because of hanging people, hangman was sent to hell?'
Marco was speechless.
'I'm still as virtuous as any Saint or Priest as I also worship God. This is my profession which I must do and I've inclination for God as well which is the part of my religion, humanity and virtuousness.'
'Religion, humanity and virtuousness.' These words echoed inside Marco's mind. A movie ran in his mind about his own morning rituals and that of Andrea. He was totally in dilemma as he was lost in the thought that who would be considered more virtuous on the Judgment Day.