The father's questions

There was a very rich man who was also a kind-hearted philanthropist. He used to give alms to the ‘have-nots’ of society, and he also used to be very kind even to those who were quite prosperous. He was always giving, giving, giving. One evening a very nicely dressed elderly man came to his place. He said to the rich man, “It is getting dark and I have not reached my destination. Can you suggest to me a suitable inn where I can take shelter?”

The rich man said, “No, no. I do not know of any inn in this vicinity.”

The wife of this rich man said, “Since there is no inn available, please come in. You can spend the night with us.”

The kind-hearted rich man also agreed, saying, “Yes, yes, you stay at our place, and tomorrow morning you can continue your journey.”

They fed this elderly man, and they were having a nice talk. They were quite comfortable with this guest and he told them all about his family and so on. At one point the guest said, “I have a son who is quite well educated, and I see that your daughter is so beautiful and loving. I would like my son to marry her. I hope you will accept this proposal.”

The wife was overjoyed because she liked this old man very much. But her husband said, “First you have to answer my questions.”

The elderly man said, “I will answer them with all the sincerity at my command.”

The husband proceeded, “Do you have rats? Do you have cats? Do you have dogs in your house?”

The old man was surprised and a little offended. He said, “Oh no, I do not have rats. I do not have cats. I do not have dogs.”

The rich man said, “Then I will not allow your son to marry my daughter.”

The wife was furious. She said to her husband, “What are you talking about? Why do you need rats and cats and dogs?”

The husband said, “I cannot explain it. You will not understand.”

The guest was extremely disappointed, but nevertheless he offered his gratitude to the rich man and his wife because they had allowed him to stay overnight. He thanked them profusely and told them he was sad that his son would not be able to marry their daughter.

When their guest went to bed, the wife said to her husband, “I am so angry with you for ruining everything! Now tell me, why did you bring in rats, cats and dogs?”

He said, “Try to understand. I want my daughter to marry a rich person. If this man were rich, then he would have fields and he would have grain. If he had grain in his house, then there would be rats. If he said he had cats, that would mean he would have milk in the house. So he does not even have milk. Otherwise, if there were milk, then there would definitely be some cats to come and drink the milk. And he says he does not have dogs. What kind of person is this? Is there any rich man who does not have a dog? So it is obvious that he is not rich, and I am not going to give my daughter to his son.”