Teaching An Ass

A particular person arrived at a specific town from a far-off place. He claimed he was a pandit and could educate even the dullest.

Over time, the king heard about him and sent for him.

“Is it true,” the king asked the pandit, “that you claim to educate even the densest idiot?”

“Yes, Your Highness,” the man replied. “If I am paid adequately, I can teach even an ass to recite the scriptures.”

“Done!” said the king. “Teach the ass in our palace compound to recite the scriptures. How much do you expect to be paid?”

“Your Highness,” said the pandit, “give me ten years and a thousand silver coins a month, and I shall do it.”

“Mind you,” said the king, “if the ass doesn’t recite the scriptures after ten years, I shall chop your head off.”

“Agreed!” said the pandit. The king engaged him as a tutor to the palace ass.

“Ah, my friend,” said one of the well-wishers of the pandit, “you have limited your life to ten more years. You know that an ass cannot recite scriptures even in a hundred years.”

“Don’t worry, my friend,” the pandit replied. “What certainty is there that I, the ass and the king will all be alive for the next ten years?”

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