"The Goat Herder"

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Posted by Alexander from ( on Sunday, September 07, 2003 at 3:55AM :

When a pompous king in India proclaimed he wanted to be presented with a person who was very wise and could read his mind, all the officials searched the land for this supposed genius and mind reader. So it happens that one official came upon a poor, ignorant, and simple goat herder.

Well, the goat herder was chosen as this wise person, for the reason that he looked wise, merely because he let his beard grow long, and had the look of age and intelligence.

Well, the king sat at his throne, awaiting the goatherder, and when the goatherder arrived, with his two goats, the king asked him to stand before his throne, and not to speak a word, so that he could judge whether this goat herder could really read the king's mind.

So, the king lifted his hand, and raised one finger. The goat herder nodded in response. Then the king raised two fingers, and the goatherder again nodded. But when the king raised three fingers, the goatherder shook his head violently and stormed out of the king's presence. The king was in awe at this happening, since he saw how the goat herder was able to read his mind.

When one of the king's servants asked him what he had been thinking, the king replied:
"When I lifted one finger, I was asking if I was the only king of this land, and he said yes. When I raised two fingers, I was asking him if he agreed with me that God too ruled this land, and he affirmed that as well, but when I raised my third hand, asking him if there was anyone else ruling this land, besides myself and God, he shook his head. That man truly did understand what I was thinking."

Later, as the goat herder was walking home, rather annoyed with the recent interraction, an official of the king's court, who had not heard of the king's explanation of what had happened, came up to him and asked:
"Sir, oh wise one, what happened between you and the king? What took place?"

And the goat herder said,
"When the king asked if he wanted to buy one of my goats, I said yes. When he asked if he could buy two, I said he could as well. But then he wanted to buy three goats, and I just could not stand to give away my entire livelihood, so I left."

-- Alexander
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