The rescue

Once there were two good friends. They had gone to grammar school together and then went on to finish high school together as well. They lived in the same village. Most of the villagers were farmers, not at all well educated. In fact, with their high school diplomas, these two friends were among the most educated in the village.

One day, the two friends decided to go into town to try to find good jobs. Because of their education, they were very proud of themselves, and they were sure that they would be successful.

After a few days, the two friends discovered that the townspeople preferred to hire illiterate workers rather than educated ones, so that they could offer very low wages. The two could not find suitable employment anywhere. Nobody would hire them when they found out that they had high school diplomas and heard how well spoken they were.

After some time, the two friends had spent all their money, and still they had no job. But both of them felt it would be beneath their dignity to go back home without having found employment. "We are desperate," they agreed. "Since we cannot find jobs, let us instead start stealing. Nobody will be able to catch us!"

One of the young men developed a plan. He told his friend, "I have noticed that every evening a certain gentleman goes out for a short walk. When he leaves his house, he does not completely close his door. So tonight, when he goes out, let me enter into the house and search for his money. If you see the owner coming back, start singing loudly as a signal for me to hide."

That evening, the two friends watched from a safe distance as the gentleman went out of his house for his daily walk. When he was out of sight, as planned, one of the friends slipped into his house through the unlocked door and started searching for money to steal. After a while he heard his friend singing loudly outside the door, which meant the man was returning. So he hid behind some furniture just as the gentleman walked through the door.

In an hour's time, a real hooligan knocked at the door, and when the gentleman opened the door, the hooligan began to beat him up, brandishing a knife. The young man who was hiding jumped out from behind the furniture, grabbed the knife from the bandit and rescued the gentleman.

Hearing the commotion, the neighbours came in and caught the bandit. "Who is that other man?" they asked the gentleman.

"He is a dear friend of mine. He has just saved my life," the gentleman told the neighbours.

The neighbours went outside to thrash the bandit. Then the gentleman, who was a very successful businessman, turned to the young man who had just rescued him and asked, "Now, please tell me, who are you?"

Crying, the young man touched the gentleman's feet and told him the whole story. "My friend and I came to town to get good jobs, but because of our education, nobody would hire us. So we thought that just once in our lives we should steal a large sum of money so we could go home and live comfortably. With the money we stole, we were planning on improving our family farms. Actually, I am not a thief. I have never stolen anything in my life. Please, feel free to punish me. I deserve to be punished by you."

"I could never do that," replied the gentleman. "You have saved my life. In some way, I must repay you. I could hire you to work for me. If you agree, I promise to give you a very good job. I run a very good business. I will make you my salesman."

"What about my friend and accomplice, the one who was singing to warn me of your arrival?" asked the young man. "He is waiting for me outside on the street."

"Bring him in," said the man. "I will offer him a good job too, provided you both promise never to steal from me or from anyone."

The friends agreed. They immediately began to work as salesmen for the gentleman. They worked with great diligence and both did extremely well. In fact, in a very short span of time, they brought such new success to the business that the gentleman decided to promote them both and to raise their salaries. The two friends were overjoyed.

The gentleman said to the two, "Before I hired you, you were so miserable, so desperate, that you were going to rob me. Now, my generosity has made you both happy."

"Not only your generosity, but more importantly, your forgiveness!" the two friends exclaimed.

"You saved my life, so I owe you my life," the gentleman went on. "I owe you my life's prestige. You rescued me from being killed by a hooligan."

"You rescued the two of us from poverty and a life of crime!" replied the two friends.

In this way, the businessman and the salesmen enjoyed very happy and successful lives working together for many long years.