The royal exhibition

Once a king personally arranged an exhibition of all his wealth. All the jewels that he had collected during his life and also those that he had inherited from his parents and grandparents were displayed. Included in the exhibition was a most beautiful and valuable diamond ring called the Kohinoor diamond, which was displayed on a plate decorated with diamonds.

Ordinary subjects were not allowed to see the exhibition. Only those who were wealthy were allowed to go. Many distinguished people went.

One evening, many people were looking at the many beautiful objects and enjoying the display. All of a sudden, somebody noticed that the Kohinoor diamond ring was missing. The king was horrified to think that one of his many distinguished friends and relatives could have stolen the diamond. He asked his minister, “What should we do? This is so embarrassing.”

The minister said, “We don’t want to search anybody, because all the people here are your friends and relatives. Let us turn off all the lights, so that nobody will be able to see. Then, in the dark we can make an announcement asking whoever has taken the ring to quietly put it back. Let us not use the word ‘stolen’. We will say, ‘Whoever has taken the ring by mistake should quietly put it back on the plate’.”

The king agreed that it was best not to expose the culprit. So they turned off all the lights and the minister said, “In five minutes I hope the one who has taken the ring by mistake will put it back.” After five minutes the minister said, “Let us give a few more minutes for the person to return the diamond. Who knows, that person may not be near the place where the diamond was supposed to be.”

After five more minutes the minister said, “Now we are turning on the lights, and to our deep joy I am sure we shall find that the ring has been returned.”

They turned on the lights and all eyes turned to the place where the ring had been. O God, now the plate was also gone! The king got furious with the minister. He said, “Here I tried to avoid embarrassing my friends and relatives, and this is what has happened!”

The minister said, “I am sure at least that the fellow who has taken the plate is still here. The person who has taken the ring may not be here, but the fellow who has taken the plate must be here. Let us search everybody.”

The king said, “No, I am now closing down the exhibition. God wants me to be wise. God wants me to know that I don’t live with honest people. If even my friends and relatives are not honest, then I have to be careful.”