“Do you know that the wise man of the royal palace is dead?” The first villager at the market place asked the second villager. “Yes, I know but who is going to be his successor?” Asked the second villager.
“I am not sure of that, but the king is worried.”
“The king feels he cannot find a suitable one to succeed him.”
“But what about the old man? He was a challenge to the dead man.”
“How did he become a challenge to the dead man?”
“Well the dead old man was much nearer and dearer to the king and advised him in all matters pertaining to the kingdom.”
“But there is another wise man who does not like the dead man.”
“Who is he?”
“He lives alone in the hills,”
“Do people go to see him?”
“Yes he is well known for his advice.”
“Is he a wise man?”
“Yes certainly. He says the kingdom is not a ruled properly due to wrong advices of the old man. He is now dead and gone.”
“So then let us inform the king to appoint this man of the hills to succeed the dead old wise man.”
“I am not sure if the wise man of the hills may agree to accept the post of the wise man of the royal palace.”
“Why, if the king wants and orders him to be his wise man why can't he accept the position?”
“But he says that the king too is foolish and the king can be up to mischief. He dislikes the ways and manners of the king.”
“That is going to be a serious point. Why don't we get the courtiers to know about this matter and send a messenger to meet the man in the hills.”
“That can be arranged, but I don't know who is going to meet him in the hills.”
“Let the king decide that. It is our duty to let the king know of a good successor,”
“Anyway, as two good well wishers of the kingdom let us go and see the old man in the hills.”
“Certainly it is our duty.”
So the two old villagers went walking all the way to the hills to see the old man of the hills living alone in the isolated abode surrounded by trees shrubs and chirping birds perched all around. The old man was in a meditative mood, but he came to know that two villagers have come to see him.
“Have you come to see me?”
“Yes master, we are from the village at the foot of the hills.”
“What made you come to see me?”
“The wise old man of the king is dead.”
“Really? But do you call him a wise old man? If he is a wise man any person of this poor village can be wise.
Do you know the extent to which he cunningly cheated the king for his own benefit and helped his own people to obtain various positions in the kingdom? This is too bad. I was constantly a critic of this situation but nobody listened to me.
In this bleak situation I had to flee off to the hills. The old man was too old and I had to pardon him for his fallacies. I felt that I was correct, but nobody dared to support me fearing that they will be killed. Anyway to cut a long story short, what do you want me to do now?”
“We wish you be given that position.”
“Who says that?”
“That looks the general opinion in the kingdom.” At this point the old man of the hills smiled. “That cannot be the actual situation,” he said.
“How can I be a wise man to an idiot like king?” He asked solemnly and sternly.
“But for the sake of the kingdom you must accept the post of the wise man of the royal palace.”
Once again the old man of the hills smiled. He wanted to change the subject to something else. So he asked. “Is the great big tree nuga in the royal park cut down?”
“No master it is still there.”
“How old do you think that tree is?”
“About three hundred years.”
“No, more than that certainly. It was planted long before my grandfather was born and do you still see that giant old tortoise who was living in the royal compound?”
“Yes the tortoise is still living.”
“How old do you think the tortoise is?”
“About three hundred years old?”
“Definitely more than that!” A grave silence ensued.
“Will you accept the post of the wise man of the king if requested as a village representation?”
“I don't think that my conscience will allow me to accept such a post in the royal palace, knowing very well what it looks like today.
Go and tell your king that the nuga tree should be allowed to grow well and the tortoise should be allowed to grow well over the years. Similarly let me live in these hills happily and peacefully.”
Once again the old man of the hills entered a state of meditation.
Courtesy - Daily News -