The Blind Experts

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“The King of Andhak city, was said to be a noble King. In order to fulfil his royal duties, he himself listened to the complaints of his subjects and tried to redress their grievances. Most of his people had an easy access to his royal court, where they were allowed to express themselves freely and fearlessly.

One day, an old man accompanied by his two totally blind sons entered the royal court. The old man bowed before the King in deference to him and said, “Your Majesty! unfortunately, these days I am living in acute poverty. It is a matter of time before I rise to fame again and earn money. However, at the moment, I am badly in need of one thousand gold coins. Kindly, pay me this amount. I will repay this loan within six months, at the most.”

“And if you don’t?” asked the King.

“As a guarantee against the loan, I shall leave my two blind sons in your palace. They are highly gifted and will not hesitate to serve to the utmost of their ability.”

“How can these two blind sons of yours, be of any service to me?” asked the King in a little disbelief.

“Your Majesty, what I tell you now, will compel you to change your opinion about these two boys.”
“Proceed,” said the King showing great interest in the matter.

“My elder son is an expert judge of horses, while the younger one has an unfailing expertise on testing the jewels.”

“Very interesting”! said the King. “How do they do it?”

“Both my sons rely on their sense of smell and touch, to do their job. If you ever find them incorrect in their judgement, you may get them beheaded and may also punish me after I return from my mission,” said the old man with great confidence.

“All right! here, take your money,” saying so, the King handed over one thousand gold coins to the old man and ordered to take the two blind brothers in the King’s service.

One day, a horse trader came to the royal court to sell a horse to the King. The elegant and well-bred horse, the trader claimed, belonged to the Arabian breed.

“This horse is very faithful and runs very fast,” claimed the trader and persuaded the King to buy the horse.

The King sent for the blind judge of horses. When he reached the court, the King ordered him to examine the horse. “Tell me about its quality and its nearest value,” said the King.
When the blind boy began to examine the horse by touching and smelling it, the horse trader got infuriated. He said, “How strange! a blind boy examining a horse! You had better stop it. What a way to waste my time, as well as, that of His Majesty’s.”

But the blind boy turned towards the King and said to him, “Your Majesty! It is better, not to purchase this horse. It might hurt you, when you ride it.”

“What nonsense!” shouted the trader losing his temper. “How can you dissuade the King like that?”

Then upon the advice of the blind boy, the King commanded one of his expert riders to mount the horse back.

But, as soon as, the rider mounted the horse, he was violently thrown off the back by the horse.
The trader stood stunned. He said, “But it never behaves with me like that.”

“Yes, it certainly does not harm you,” said the blind boy. “The reality is that this horse does not harm any milkman. Why did you give up your old profession?”

“How do you know, I was ever a milkman?” asked the horse trader with great surprise.

“I have come to know all this by smelling your horse. I know, that this horse was born in your house. You fed it on buffalo’s milk. Its parents were also owned by you.”

The trader left the court along with his horse.

Then, after some days a jeweller came to the King with a number of precious stones and gems. The King picked up a beautiful piece of diamond, giving it to the younger blind brother and said, “Test this diamond and let me know your views.”

The blind boy examined the diamond piece by rubbing it between his palms several times and then said, “Of course, it is very valuable, but it would prove inauspicious to the wearer.”
“How is it so?” asked the King.

“Your Majesty!” said the blind boy, “This diamond piece has taken the life of at least two members of the jeweller’s family.”

Hearing this, the jeweller begged the King’s pardon and left the royal court along with his gems and precious stones.

Now, a few days later the father of the two blind boys came back from his mission. He looked happy and repayed the loan of one thousand gold coins to the King. Then he asked for the King’s permission to take back his sons with him.

When the old man was nearly ready to leave the King’s court accompanied by his sons, the King asked him, “You are the father of these two talented sons. What special talent do you have?”

“I can tell the reality of a person,” replied the old man.

“Then speak about me. What am I?

“You are the son of a thief,” said the old man.

This enraged the King. He shouted and then ordered that the old man and his two sons should be immediately beheaded.’’

Having finished the story Betal asked King Vikramaditya, “Vikram, was the King justified in ordering the execution of the old man and his two sons? Speak up immediately, otherwise, I shall break your head into two pieces.”

King Vikramaditya thought for a moment and then replied—

“Betal! the King was, no doubt, unjustified in his act. He was really a son of a thief, because he could not tolerate the bitter truth about himself. But the blame must also lie on the old man. He should have realized what he was saying. Having failed to do so, he became solely responsible for his own death, as well as, those of his two sons.

“Your sense of judgement is praiseworthy,” said Betal. “But even then I am going back to my abode, because you have spoken despite my repeated warnings.” Saying so, Betal flew away from the shoulder of King Vikramaditya and headed straight for his abode in the peepal tree. King Vikramaditya drew his royal sword from its sheath and chased Betal to catch him again.

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