One morning before breakfast, Beth came to her mother all embarrassed. "I was getting ready for church," Beth said, "and I needed help tying my shoes so I went to get Father to help me. But when I found him in the bedroom, he was naked! Am I going to get in trouble for seeing him naked?"
Beth's mother frowned down at the sausage links she was frying. "The Bible has something to say about that, Dear One," she said. And this is the story she told as she finished making breakfast:
One day, Noah was making his living breeding animals and taking care of a vineyard. He drank wine and got so drunk that he lay down in his tent without any clothes on.
Noah's son Ham walked into his father's tent and saw him naked. Then he went to tell his brothers, Shem and Japheth. Shem and Japheth got some clothing and held it between them and walked backwards into their father's tent, so that they could cover him up without looking at him.
When Noah sobered up, he remembered that Ham had seen him naked. He was so mad that he cursed Ham's son, Canaan, and made him and his descendants slaves until the end of time. He blessed Shem and Japheth for their actions, and made it clear to them that Canaan was their slave forever.
"So, Beth, the Bible says that your children will be cursed because you saw your father naked," said Beth's mother.
Beth thought about this for a moment, and although the thought of her children being her brother's slaves bothered her, she smiled and hugged her mother. The story had answered all her questions.
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