Three fools and a rogueWhen the head of a particular village passed away, many people came to his house to mourn. All of them were crying and saying how nice he had been. Some were bad and were only shedding crocodile tears, but some were shedding sincere tears.
A businessman wanted to go, but he himself was very sick. He told his eldest son, “Go there and console the members of the family.”
The son said, “I don’t know how to console anybody. I have never done this kind of thing. You are always the one who goes to mourn if someone dies. I don’t know what to say.”
The father said, “Just say what others are saying. Just imitate what others say and what others do.”
Many people were gathered at the deceased man’s house. Some were talking loudly and some were whispering. The son thought, “I am sure that the people speaking quietly are the ones who know the correct thing to say.”
He went closer and heard one man telling his two friends, “It is good that the rogue has died at last.”
So the businessman’s son went to the oldest son of the village head and asked, “Why are you crying?”
The son said, “My father has just died. Why shouldn’t I cry?”
The businessman’s son said, “It is good that the rogue has finally died.”
The son said, “What!” Then he and all the others in the house thrashed the businessman’s son. So the boy went home crying.
His father said, “What has happened?”
The boy said, “You told me to say what others said. I overheard somebody say, ‘It is good that the rogue has died at last’. When I said the same thing to his son, O God, he and many others beat me so badly.”
The father was afraid that something would happen because his son had said this to the village head’s son. He said, “Now they will think ill of me and my family, and then we will be in serious trouble.”
The businessman’s second eldest son said, “Father, I will make up for it. Please allow me to go there and I will say something to compensate.”
The father said, “Just do the right thing. I don’t have to tell you what to say or whom to talk to. Just go there and say something to the eldest son so that he doesn’t hold anything against us. I have such a stupid eldest son. Look what he has done. Now go there and compensate for your older brother.”
So the businessman’s second eldest son went to the village head’s house and said to the eldest son, “I am so sorry. I have such a stupid older brother. He is useless, useless, useless. Please forgive our family. I promise you that when you die, I will be the first person to come to your house and cry for you. And I will cry much more than anyone has ever cried.”
The son got furious. He said, “My father has just died and we are all crying. Why do you now have to think of my death?”
The son of the village head’s eldest son overheard the conversation and he also got mad. He said, “My grandfather has just died and we are all mourning. Is this the time to talk about my father’s death?” Then he started beating the businessman’s son.
This son was also beaten very badly, and he came back home crying and crying. The father said, “You idiot! Did you have to say, ‘When you die?’ His father has just died and you had to speak of the son’s death!”
The third son of the businessman said, “Father, don’t worry. I will be able to compensate for my brothers.”
When the third son went to the village head’s house, he said to the eldest son, “My brothers are such fools. Please forgive our family. I tell you, as soon as I hear that you have fallen sick, I will come and cry for you. Even long before you die, I will start crying for you.”
The son of the village head again became furious. He said, “Even long before I die, you will be thinking of my death!” Then he and all the members of his family beat the third son of the businessman.
When the third son returned home badly beaten, the father said, “I have such idiot sons! What will they think of our family?”
Finally the youngest son said, “Father, please let me go and compensate.”
By this time the father had lost all faith in his sons, but he said, “All right, then go there.”
The youngest son went to the house of the village head and saw that many people were crying and suffering. He went to the son of the deceased man and said, “I had a dream last night that I would like to tell you about. In the dream I felt miserable because I saw that your father had died. And now it is true; I see that your father has died.”
The son said, “I don’t want to hear about your dream.”
The businessman’s son said, “The next thing is very important. Your father said to me that you are immortal. You won’t die.”
The son said, “Everybody else will die, but I will not die?”
The businessman’s son said, “Your father told me in my dream that he himself had a dream. His dream told him that if he died today, then you would be able to live as long as you wanted to.”
The son said, “Do you mean that if he had died on another day, then I would live only for a short time like everybody else?”
The businessman’s son said, “That is between your father and my dream. Whatever I heard I am telling you. One final thing! In my dream your father told me that definitely one day you will become king. Now you are a village head, but because of your big heart, wisdom and love for mankind, soon you will become king. In the village nobody is as good, as kind and as forgiving as you are. Because of all these good qualities, some day you will become king. So you will be immortal and you will be king.”
The village head’s son knew that because the first three brothers had been fools, this one was trying to flatter him. He thought, “At least one brother has some sense. Of course, he has come to flatter me, but at least he is not a fool. The other three were real fools!
So he said to the fourth brother, “Go home peacefully and tell your father that I don’t hold anything against him or his other sons. I know that to take care of foolish sons is such a hard task. I am sure that those three foolish brothers of yours have done many foolish things in their lives. Your father has to put up with them, but I could not. So I thrashed them.
“You, at least, are not a fool. But I see that you are a rogue. You have come here only to flatter me. I don’t need stupid people and, again, a rogue like you I don’t need either. Go back to your father and tell him that I send my regards. Then I will mourn the loss of my father in peace.”