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Saturday, June 8, 2013

As You Sow, So Shall You Reap

As You Sow, So Shall You Reap
In the reign of caliph Haroon-ur-Rasheed, there lived a clever barber in Baghdad. He was a high-class barber and had many wealthy men and courtiers among his customers. One day a poor wood seller brought him a load of fuel wood. He offered him a dinar for the wood; the wood seller demanded three. After a long haggling the barber said, “Here are two for all the wood you have on your donkey’s back. Take or leave it, my dear man. I can’t pay more.” The wood seller agreed.
The barber asked his servant to unload the wood and also the wooden saddle. The wood seller protested and said that the saddle was no part of the fuel wood. But the barber replied, “Old man! I have paid for all the wood on the donkeys back. The saddle is made of wood and it is there on the donkey’s back.” So saying he seized the saddle and ordered his servants to throw the wood seller in the street.
The wood seller went to the Caliph. The Caliph could not help him because the terms of the bargain favoured the barber. But he did offer the poor man a piece of good advice.
The next day, the wood seller went to the barber’s shop and asked him to cut and shave him and his friend. He offered to pay two dinars for it. The barber cut the hair of the wood seller and then told him to bring his friend. The wood seller went out and brought his donkey. The barber flew into a rage, “How dare you play a silly joke on me? I, the barber to the King’s courtiers, shave your donkey! Get out of here, before I break your skull,” he said.
The wood seller went to the Caliph once again. The Caliph called the barber before him. After listening to the statements of the parties, the Caliph pronounced: “The wood seller is in the right. If the saddle of the donkey can be a part of the fuel wood, the donkey can very well be a man’s companion and friend.” Then he ordered the barber to shave the donkey in the presence of all the courtiers. The barber had to do this while all the people laughed at him.

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