The Three-Deaf Man
One day a shepherd came with his flock to a clearing, where he found that one of his sheep was missing. He wanted to search for it, but someone had to look after the flock in his absence. He looked around and fortunately found a Brahman in the branches of a banian tree. The shepherd went under the tree and shouted to the Brahman, “Sir, look after my sheep till I come back, and I shall give you the lame lamb.” Then he went in search of the missing sheep.
Now, the Brahman who was on the tree was deaf. He never heard a word of what the shepherd said. He was busy plucking banian leaves. He continued with his work till he had enough to carry and climbed down the tree. Just at this moment, the shepherd returned with his missing sheep. Thanks to the Brahman, he was happy that none of his sheep was missing. So he picked up the lame lamb and offered it to the Brahman.
The Brahman recoiled at the sight of the lamb. “I was up the tree. I know nothing about the lamb,” he protested.
The shepherd, who too was deaf, thought that the Brahman was demanding a better lamb. “It is the lame lamb I offered, not a good one!” he protested.
“I didn’t lame it. I was up the tree all the time!” said the Brahmin.
They went to the village officer, quarrelling and not understanding each other. The village officer, too, was deaf. He had a violent quarrel with his wife and was in a grim mood. To him, both the deaf men presented their cases.
“It is very kind of you, gentlemen,” said the deaf officer, “to try to patch up our quarrel. But I shall never talk to that woman again! Never!”