Religion: The Diving Cur

In his royal blue swimming trunks, the Rev. Robert Simon climbed the 115-ft. diving tower. This time, as he looked down at the shimmering river and the upturned faces of the crowd, he was not frightened. He prayed to St. Teresa of Lisieux with a calm heart. This, he hoped, would be his most lucrative dive of all.

Sometimes he had been frightened. But not of the water—he had always been an unusually good swimmer. At the age of three, he had fallen into the 23-ft.-deep fountain at his native village of Roulans, in eastern France. "Other children would have drowned,"...

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