On Gods Advise

There was once a poor peasant who had seven children. He was so poor that he could not provide his children with a dry crust. He was not inclined to work hard nor bold enough to steal.

One day, the peasant stood on the highway, wondering what he should do to make both ends meet when he saw Igori the Brave come along the road.

“Greetings, friend!” said the peasant. “Where are you going?” “To see God,” Igori replied. “What for?” asked the peasant.

“To inquire what men should do,” Igori replied.

“Will you please find out what God wishes me to do? I shall be very much obliged to you if you can get me God’s advice,” the peasant begged Igori.

Igori said, “I will,” and went his way. This Igori was a colossal fraud. Several credulous people believed that he had the power to interview God and requested him to carry their problems to God and bring back His advice. He listened to their concerns, took their money and went away. After some time, he returned and told them, “God wants you to do this.” They were very greatly satisfied. Igori bought himself a delicate dress and a golden saddle for his horse.

The peasant waited on the highway for the return of Igori. When Igori came, the peasant asked him, “Well, what does God want me to do? Did you speak to Him about me?”

“I forgot to ask Him about you,” Igori replied.

The next time Igori appeared on the highway, going to God, the peasant told him, “Be sure to ask God about me this time. Don’t you forget!”

Igori assented, but when the peasant met him on his return, he said, “Again, I forgot to ask God about you.” Igori hoped that the peasant would pay him money not to forget.

The peasant waited for Igori and saw him going on another trip to God.

“Please tell God about my miserable condition without fail, at least this time. Poverty is tormenting me,” he said to Igori. “I won’t forget,” Igori replied. “But you’ll forget again,” said the peasant. “Leave one of your golden stirrups with me so that you’ll never forget me in your entire life.”

Igori wanted to refuse, but he was afraid of the peasant. Igori the Brave was, in reality, a coward. So he took off one of his golden stirrups and gave it to the peasant.

The peasant waited on the highway till Igori returned. Then he asked Igori, “What does God want me to do ?”

“It was a good thing that you took my golden stirrup. For I nearly forgot about you. After talking to God, I went back to my horse, and I only remembered your petition.”

“Yes, yes!” said the peasant anxiously. “And what advice. Did God give to me? How does he want me to stay alive? Do tell me!”

“God said that you can never live by any means,” Igori told the peasant.” He wants you to live by perjury.”

“Thanks for the help, friend,” the peasant said to Igori and turned to go.

“Wait! Stop! Where are you going?” Igori shouted to the peasant. Give me back my golden stirrup before you go!” “What stirrup ?” asked the peasant in surprise.

“The one you took from me the other day,” said Igori.

“When did I ever take a stirrup from you?” asked the peasant. “I never saw you before.”

Igori was nonplussed. There was no use in arguing with the man. He might turn nasty. What the peasant had said came true: because of giving him the stirrup, Igori was not going to forget the peasant in his life.

The peasant tried to sell the golden stirrup to several persons. One day, a zamindar saw the stirrup and wanted to buy it.

“What will you take for it?” the zamindar asked the peasant. “Fifteen hundred silver pieces, Your Highness,” said the peasant. “Is this stirrup worth fifteen hundred ?” the zamindar asked the peasant. “It’s made of solid gold!” replied the peasant.

The zamindar counted the money in his bag and found that he had only a thousand pieces of silver.

“Take the thousand and give me the stirrup. I shall send you the rest of the money through my servant. You needn’t be afraid,” said the zamindar.

“Give me what you have and send me the balance. I shall not give the stirrup until I’m fully paid,” the peasant replied.

The zamindar gave the peasant the thousand silver pieces and went home. He counted out five hundred more details, gave them to his servant, and said, “Give this money to the peasant and bring the gold stirrup from him.”

The servant went to the peasant and said, “Master wants you to take this money.”

“Then I’ll take it,” said the peasant.

The servant handed the money to the peasant and said, “Now give me the stirrup, and I shall go.”

“What stirrup?” asked the peasant.

“The gold stirrup my master bought from you,” the servant replied. “I’ve no gold stirrup,” said the peasant.

“Then why did you take the money? Give it back to me,” the servant demanded.

“Money?” said the peasant. “What money?”

“Didn’t I give you five hundred pieces of silver just now ?” the servant asked in surprise.

“I’ve not seen even five coppers,” the peasant replied.

The servant returned to the zamindar and told him how the peasant had cheated him. The zamindar went to the peasant and shouted at him:

“You cheat! How dare you take the money from my servant and refuse to give the gold stirrup ?”

“I’m an old man and a poor man, Your Honour,” the peasant said. “How is it possible that I should have gold stirrups?”

“I see your game,” said the zamindar. “I know how to deal with you. Come with me to the court.”

“I can come,” said the peasant, “but look at me, a poor man hard up for food. And look at my dirty clothes. It is not good that you should be seen going to the court with me in these rags. I could accompany you this very minute if I had some decent clothes.”

“Don’t worry about clothes,” said the zamindar. “I can give you some. Let us go.”

The peasant dressed in the fine clothes brought from the zamindar’s house, and both went to the court.

“This man promised to sell me a gold stirrup,” the zamindar complained to the court. “He took the full value and refused to give me the stirrup.”

“Your Honour,” the peasant pleaded before the judge, “I am an old man and a poor man. I am so poor that, at times, I can- not give my children even a crust of bread. How is it possible for me to come by gold stirrups? I don’t know what this gentleman demands of me. Perhaps he will be demanding the clothes I am wearing next.”

“But they are mine! I gave them to you!” the zamindar protested.

“There he goes!” said the peasant. “That is his justice.” The judge did not care to hear any further. He dismissed the complaint the Zamindar brought against the peasant and sent both of them away. On the “advice of God”, the peasant made his livelihood by perjuring himself.

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