The Zamindar’s Servant
A village zamindar (a landowner and village tax collector) and his wife had a number of goats. A servant, a young boy, looked after them. The zamindar liked the boy very much, but his wife was suspicious of him. Fortunately the lad did not know this. The wife was very clever. Outwardly she was kind, polite and affectionate to him, but inwardly she was hostile and mistrustful.
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, “My wife and I are not getting along because of this servant. We each have a different opinion of him.”
The friend said, “Don’t worry. I can 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 to me for 10 rupees?”
The boy said, “No, I am sorry.”
“Twenty rupees?” the friend asked.
The servant said, “If you want to buy the goat, go to my master and give him the 20 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 30 rupees. I am sure that your master does not give you enough salary. Keep the 30 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. He would know. And even if he didn’t notice, I know how many goats he has, so I would know that one was missing.”
The friend said, ‘Just take 30 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 100 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 70 rupees and keep 30 for yourself. Or you could just tell him the goat was stolen and keep all the money for yourself.”
“I could never do that,” the young man said.
But the man persisted, and the servant finally conceded, “If you really want to give me 100 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 a hundred for it. I thought that you would be very happy to get 100 rupees for a goat that is worth only five. 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 don’t trust him. I tell you, he sold it at an even higher price and 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 tells us he sold a goat for a hundred rupees. I don’t suspect him of wrongdoing, but my wife, as usual, does. 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 a hundred rupees. I tried to persuade him to keep the money for himself. I was testing him. But each and every time he proved his honesty. 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. From now on, I will trust this boy as my own son.”
from Garden of the Soul
by Sri Chinmoy
Published by Health Communications