There was a young man whose father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all thieves. Everybody in his family was a thief, save him. He did not want to be a thief. He said, “I have no desire to be a thief. I want to be an honest man.”
His father said, “You fool! Just once if you commit a theft, you will get so much money. Then for the rest of your life you will not have to worry. Otherwise you will have to work eight hours a day for years and years. You can see that in our family, we do not work. Only a few times we have stolen money and valuables from people. Now we are so rich.”
The son said, “No, no, I do not want to steal even once in my life. It is not good. I want to pray to God and I want to be happy in a different way. I do not need this material wealth.”
The father said, “You have to steal!”
They had a fight, and then the son left the father. The son went out to look for a proper job. One man who was quite rich asked the son, “Do you want to work for me?”
The young man said, “Yes, I will work for you.”
The young man did not know that this rich man was another thief. The rich man said, “Look, now that you are working for me, I will make you very, very rich in a few days’ time if you listen to me.”
The young man innocently said, “Yes, I will be happy to do as you say.”
The rich man said, “I want to have you as my assistant. I will teach you how to rob people and steal things.”
The young man said, “O my God! My father is in that profession!”
“What is your father’s name?” the rich man asked. When the young man told him, the rich man said, “You are the son of that thief? That means you are another rogue! I am sure you have come here to do something bad, to play a trick on me, and you are planning to steal my money!”
The rich man remained silent for a minute. Then he said, “I will see if you are an honest man or not. I will examine you before I throw you out. Today I am not going to steal. Today I am going to the market. I will buy two small diamonds, and then I will see what I can do with these diamonds.”
When the rich man went to the market to buy the diamonds, he came upon his best friend and worst rival, who was another rogue. This fellow had more money, so he bought four diamonds. The first rich man did not have enough money to buy four diamonds, so he bought only two.
He came back and said to his new assistant, “Look here, I am going to my friend’s place. You will come with me. I will enter into a long conversation with him. First I will show him the two diamonds that I bought, and then I will ask him to show me the four that he bought. When we are deep into our marathon conversation, in a very tricky way you will take away those four diamonds of his.”
“I will?” cried the young man.
The rich man said, “You have to do it. Otherwise, I will tell the whole world that you came to me with a big plan. You are such a bad fellow! I know your father is smarter than I am. He has sent you here to play a trick on me. I will punish you!”
The young man said, “I am not going to carry out your order. I am going away.”
The rich man said, “No, you have to stay.”
The young man said, “No, I am resigning. I have not stolen anything, so if you want to, you can dismiss me for disobeying you.”
The young man went to the fellow who had bought the four diamonds and narrated the whole story. He said to him, “Look, this is what he himself told me he will do, so be careful!”
This smart man said, “All right, I will teach him a lesson.”
The young fellow went away and again started looking for a job. Alas, wherever he went, he had such bad luck.
A few days later, the man who had bought the four diamonds went to his rival and said, “We two are such good friends. I will now be going to visit some other friends for two or three weeks. Kindly keep these four diamonds for me. When I come back, please return them to me. You see, I have sealed them inside this box. If you would like to have a commission from me for doing this service, I will gladly give it.”
The first rogue said, “Commission? How can I take money from you? We are such good friends! I will keep this box safe. You take your time and come back whenever you like.”
The second rich man said, “I have decided that since you will keep these diamonds so safe, I will definitely give you some money when I come back. At that time, please take money from me. If I were to give these diamonds to somebody else for safekeeping, they would definitely be stolen. God knows what any other person would do to me.”
After three or four weeks, the second rogue came back and asked for his diamonds. The one who was keeping the diamonds said, “Since you are taking them away, can I not see them just once?”
The man said, “Certainly you can see them. Let us open the box.”
When the fellow who had kept the diamonds opened the box, he found that there were only four pieces of glass inside. He said to the second rogue, “You fooled me! I kept this box so safe for you. Why did you do this?”
The second rogue said, “What was in your mind originally? What did you tell that young man? You said that you would bring him with you to my place, and we would enter into a marathon conversation. Then you wanted him to steal the diamonds. He came and told me everything! That is why I fooled you.”
This is how the second rogue exposed the first rogue.