There was a fool in one particular village. He was absolutely the worst possible fool. Everybody made fun of him. So the fool went to the village chief. He was crying and crying, “People are always making fun of me. Please give me some intelligence.”
The village chief said, “Definitely I will inject some intelligence and wisdom into you. This will be your first lesson. Listen carefully. I had three sons plus my wife. Now, my wife died of a heart attack, one son died of cholera, another died of a brain defect and the third one died in a car accident. All of them have passed away. They were very, very close to me. They lived for me and I lived for them. Out of five, only one person remains, and that person will be the next to die. Can you tell me who that person is?”
The fool answered, “How can I know the answer? You are saying that your family members were so dear to each other. Intimate things you used to share with one another. You never involved me in your private family discussions, so I do not know what went on between you and your wife and children, and I do not know who will be the next person to die.”
The village chief said, “You cannot answer such a simple question? Since I am the only one left, am I not the one who will die next?”
“Oh, yes, I am sorry,” stammered the fool. In this way he received wisdom from the village chief and left full of gratitude to him.
Then the fool went to his friends, bragging about his new-found wisdom. He said to them, “I am asking you a question. You have to answer it correctly.” Then he said exactly the same thing as the village chief had said to him: “I had three sons plus my wife” and so on. He described how each one had died. Then he asked them, “Now, who will be the next person to die?”
They all immediately said, “It will be you, you idiot!”
“No, no!” he cried. “You are all fools. The village chief, who is the wisest of all, told me that he would be the next one to die!”
Then the villagers laughed and laughed at the fool’s wisdom.