The zamindar's servant

A village zamindar and his wife had a number of goats, and they had a servant who looked after them. The zamindar liked the boy very much, but his wife suspected him. The zamindar was sad that his wife didn’t trust the servant, but fortunately the young boy did not know this. The wife was very clever. Outwardly she was very kind, polite and affectionate to him, but inwardly she was very hostile to him.

One day a friend came to the zamindar’s home and saw that he was very sad. The friend asked, “Why are you sad?”

The zamindar answered, “I am sad that my wife and I are not getting along because of this servant. Both of us have different opinions about him.”

The friend said, “Don’t worry. I will be able to solve the problem and tell you whether he is good or bad.”

One day while the servant was watching the goats in a field, the master’s friend came up to him and said, “This particular goat is so beautiful. Will you sell it to me for five rupees?”

The boy answered, “No, I am sorry. I cannot sell it.”

The friend asked again, “Will you sell it for ten rupees?”

The boy said, “No, I am sorry.”

“Twenty rupees?” the friend asked.

The servant said, “If you want to buy the goat, you will have to go to my master and give him the twenty rupees. If my master says he will sell it, then I will give it to you.”

The friend said, “Who wants to go to your master? His house is quite far. Let me give you thirty rupees. I am sure that your master does not give you enough salary. Keep the thirty rupees and tell your master that the goat was stolen. Your master has so many goats. He won’t even know it is gone.”

“Oh no,” the boy said, “I can’t do that. My master will know. And even if he didn’t notice, I know how many goats my master has, so I would know if one were missing.”

The friend said, “Just take thirty rupees and give me the goat. Then go and give your master the money and tell him you have sold it.”

The boy said, “No, I am sorry. I can’t sell it without my master’s permission.”

“If I give you one hundred rupees, will you give me the goat?” the friend said. “Then you can keep all the money.”

“I am not a thief,” the servant said. “I could never keep the money.”

The friend said, “You could give him seventy rupees and keep thirty for yourself. Or you could just tell him the goat was stolen and keep all the money for yourself.”

“That I could never do,” the young man said.

Since the man was insisting, the servant finally said, “If you really want to give me a hundred rupees for one goat, then I will accept the money and give it to my master.”

The zamindar’s friend was very curious to see what the servant would do with the money. He thought, “Either he will give his master a little less or tell him the goat was stolen. No matter what he does, I will be able to tell his master the true story.”

The servant went to his master and gave him the hundred rupees. He said, “Master, forgive me. Without your permission I sold a goat for a hundred rupees. I knew that the goat was only worth five rupees, but this man insisted on giving me one hundred rupees for it. I thought that you would be very happy to get one hundred rupees for a goat that is worth only five rupees. Now you can buy many more goats.”

The wife said to the servant, “I wish to speak to my husband privately for a minute. Would you please go away from here now?”

Then the wife said to her husband, “I suspect him. I tell you, he must have sold it at an even higher price and he is giving us only part of it.” She did not know that it was the zamindar’s friend who had bought the goat.

Just then the zamindar’s friend arrived at his house and asked, “What is happening?”

The zamindar said, “Our servant says that he has sold a goat for a hundred rupees. I don’t suspect my servant, but my wife, as usual, suspects him. She feels that he has sold the goat for a still higher price and kept some money for himself.”

The friend said, “You will never find anybody in your lifetime as honest and sincere as this servant. It was I who bought the goat for one hundred rupees. I tested him in so many ways. In so many tricky ways I tried to persuade him to keep the money for himself. But each and every time he proved to me that he is extremely sincere. I have examined him thoroughly. He is sincerity incarnate.”

The zamindar said to his wife, “I told you so!”

The wife said, “It is always good to test people in this way. Now I am changing my opinion. From now on, I will take this boy as my own son.”

The zamindar said, “I have already taken him as my own son. Unfortunately, my son is not and will never be as faithful to us as this servant is.”