Flattery catches the culprit

There were two good friends who lived in the same village. One of the friends owned a beautiful cow. One day this particular friend said to the other friend, “I am now getting old. I do not think I will be able to take care of my cow any more. I feel that the best thing is to sell the cow, so today I am going to the market.”

The other one said, “I like your cow. Why do you not sell it to me? I am younger than you, so I will be able to take care of it for many years to come.”

The first friend said, “Fine, I am willing to let you buy my cow.”

The price was quite reasonable: two hundred rupees. The cow seemed to be very strong and in good health. The younger friend paid two hundred rupees, and the owner gave the cow to his friend. This transaction happened in the morning. Alas, in the evening of the same day the cow died.

The friend who had bought the cow was furious. He said to the previous owner, “Something was wrong with your cow! I am sure it had some disease.”

The first friend said, “No! How could I know that my cow had some disease?”

Both of them argued and argued. Their friendship completely disappeared. Finally they went to the village chief with their dispute. The friend who lost his two hundred rupees said to the village chief, “I am sure his cow had some disease that he was hiding from me. He wanted to sell it in the market, but I persuaded him to sell it to me. Then, in a matter of hours, it died. Now that fellow is lucky, and I am so unlucky.”

The village chief asked the previous owner, “Do you think the cow had some ailment? I am not asking in order to punish you. I simply want to know the truth from you. You seem to be a very sincere person. In this village I have heard so much about your honesty. I will not believe anybody else, but I will believe you.”

When the village chief flattered him in this manner, the previous owner confessed, “Yes, the cow had a disease. How can I tell you a lie?”

The friend who had bought the cow cried out, “See, I was right! When he sold me the cow, he knew perfectly well that the cow had a disease.”

The village chief said to the first owner, “Here is the proof that I was right. You are such a sincere person. You have confessed to me that your cow was not all right, so I deeply appreciate your sincerity.”

The man said, “I knew that my friend was a fool.”

The village chief asked, “Why is he a fool?”

The man went on, “He believed me. He thought that I would not tell him a lie.”

Then the village chief said, “How I wish I could also be as sincere as you and as clever as you.”

The previous owner was so thrilled to be flattered about his sincerity and his cleverness. Then the village chief became serious and said, “You rogue! Granted, you did not know that the cow was going to die today, but you definitely knew that the cow was sick.”

The man told the chief, “Yes, I knew.”

The chief continued, “When you knew that you had a cow that was sick, how did you dare to fool your dear friend? Why did you sell him the cow? Why did you not tell him the truth first? I appreciate your sincerity. You told me the truth that the cow had some disease. But your roguish nature I cannot appreciate. You are not responsible for the death of the cow, but you are responsible for hiding the fact that the cow was sick.”

Immediately the village chief ordered the man to return the money to his friend. What could the previous owner do? In front of the village chief he had to return the money. Then the village chief said, “Flattery can catch everybody.”