In a small Swiss village, there was a conceited and overbearing banker. The villagers loathed and detested him for his dogmatic egotism, but they kowtowed to him because, well, he ran the only bank in the village and they all depended on his good will.
One day, a farmer came to the banker accompanied by his son, a bespectacled, furtive-looking little boy of about twelve.
“How may I help you,” boomed the banker.
“Well, sir, it’s my son. I don’t know what direction he will take in his life.”
“Easy,” said the banker. “Have him wait in the outer room.”
The farmer complied.
“Now,” said the banker, “here’s what we’ll do. We’ll put this loaf of bread, this Bible, and this bottle of wine on the desk. Then we shall hide in the closet. No doubt your son will get impatient and come into the office. We’ll observe what he does: if he picks up the loaf of bread, he will enter the trades; if he picks up the Bible, he will become a man of the cloth. If he picks up the wine–well, there’s trouble ahead . . . .”
The farmer nodded and the two of them hid in the closet and peered through the crack of the slightly-opened door.
After a short time, the office door opened slowly. The child looked stealthily around the room, then darted to the desk, where he stuck the loaf of bread under one arm, the Bible under the other one, then grabbed the bottle of wine and fled.
Before the banker could speak, these words escaped the farmer’s mouth:
“Oh my God, he’s going to be a banker, just like you!”
(with apologies to Bennett Cerf)