Four first-class foolsOnce the King asked the minister to bring him four of the world’s worst possible fools. It is easy to get fools on earth, so the following morning the minister began looking for the fools.
The first fool he saw was a Brahmin. He was running very fast with a plate and on the plate was betel nut, rice and a few other things. When the minister asked the Brahmin, “Why are you running?” the Brahmin answered, “My wife has just given birth to a son and I am bringing her the ceremonial foods. Unfortunately, the boy is not my child, but its father will also be there. So I am going to bless the new father and mother and the new baby. That is why I am running.”
“Oh!” thought the minister. “I have got my first fool,” and he told the Brahmin to come to the court with him.
“No, no, no. I can’t come to the court,” said the Brahmin, “I have to see my wife.”
But the minister said, “I am the King’s minister. It is the King’s order for me to take you,” and he showed the Brahmin his identification. So the foolish Brahmin had to go to the King’s palace.
On the way, they saw a second fool. This man was sitting on a horse and on his shoulders was a very heavy load. When the minister asked him, “Why are you doing that?” the man replied, “My horse is a mare and she is pregnant. I don’t want to hurt this poor animal by making her carry such a heavy burden, so I have kept the load on my own shoulders.”
The minister said, “If you are sitting on the horse, the weight will be the same whether it is on your shoulders, or on the back of the horse.” But the man insisted that he was taking half the burden on his own shoulders.
“Here is another fool,” the minister said to himself and he commanded him to come along to the King.
“Your Majesty,” said the minister when they came before the King, “here are your fools.”
“I asked you to bring me four fools, didn’t I?” said the King. “Where are the other two?”
“I have got one here and one there,” said the minister and he narrated their foolish actions to the King. Then he said, “The third fool is you, your Majesty. Who but a fool is interested in seeing fools? Since you are so eager to see the world’s worst possible fools, I wish to tell you that you are one of them. You get pleasure in knowing that there are horrible fools in your kingdom, whereas a wise King would like to know if there are wise men in his kingdom. Since fools give you pleasure, you also belong to their group, for birds of a feather flock together. And I am the fourth fool. I listen to your foolish commands and waste my precious life in carrying them out. Only a fool would obey the commands of a fool, so that makes me the fourth fool.”
Except for God Himself, we are all fools. There is no human being who can sincerely say that he has not, even once in his lifetime, acted foolishly. When we look for foolishness or stupidity in others, our own stupidity comes forward. But if we look for divinity in others, our divinity comes forward. Let us be supremely careful — and divinely wise.