During the French Revolution a priest, a merchant, and an engineer are to be executed for helping the aristocracy.
As the executioner leads the priest to the guillotine he asked if the priest has any final wishes. The priest says rather than be placed face down in the guillotine he would like to face up toward heaven and his God when he dies. The executioner agrees to this request. The rope is released, the blade falls, and stops an inch above the priest’s throat. The executioner says “I’ve never seen this happen before, it must be divine intervention” and declares the priest is free to go.
Next the merchant is led up to the guillotine and says he too would like to die facing heaven and God thinking the faith the priest had might spare him as well. Again, the executioner agrees. Again, the rope is released, the blade falls, and stops an inch above the man’s throat. The executioner declares the merchant is free to go having been found innocent by God.
Lastly the engineer is led to the guillotine and he also wishes to be placed face up like the others. While lying there considering this fate he suddenly exclaims “there’s your problem, there is a large knot in the rope”