There was a town where every night some houses were being robbed: either one house, two houses or three houses. People were suffering like anything. God alone knew how many thieves were responsible for these crimes. The mayor said, “Whoever can catch the thieves will receive 10,000 rupees from me.”
Everybody was looking and looking for thieves to catch. There were actually two thieves who were stealing every night. Sometimes it happened that burglaries took place at two locations at the same hour. These two thieves were rivals. They knew each other well and were jealous of each other. Each time they met, the two rivals would brag about their accomplishments. They were always competing to see who had got more expensive things.
After the mayor’s announcement, one thief said, “I will put on very nice gentleman’s clothes. My wife and I and our whole family will go to the mayor’s office. I will be able to tell the mayor who the thief is, and my wife will be the witness. My wife will cry and cry and say, ‘I know the person.’ Then I will tell the mayor, ‘I also know the person. We will be able to tell you who the thief is. He is so bad!’”
The thief and his wife went to the mayor’s office with their big family. The thief had put on a very nice dhoti and the wife was dressed very simply and religiously, with a tilak.
They were very happy that they would be able to tell the mayor who the culprit was and get the reward. When they arrived, the guard said, “The mayor is busy right now. Please wait here in this office.” The entire family went into the office. The wife and all the children were ready to serve as witnesses when the father told the mayor who the thief was.
Then all of a sudden, the other thief arrived with his family. They had also come to tell the mayor who the thief was. With the hope of getting 10,000 rupees, the two culprits and their families had come to tell the mayor who was responsible for all the crimes.
As soon as they saw each other, the two rivals both screamed, “He is the thief, he is the thief!”
The first culprit shouted to the second one, “You are the thief, you are the thief!” The second one screamed, “You liar! You are the thief!”
Both of them were screaming and shouting, and all their family members started crying. There was such a big commotion. What did the mayor do? He put both of these wonderful rivals into jail and sent all the relatives home.