While in high school, I read a novel titled, ‘Honesty is the best Policy’, by Augustine Peel. It showed how inevitable truth is, and the danger of living in a society deprived of truth. Ideally, being truthful is a priceless virtue, but the complications of this world and the problem of objectivity of Truth has made it almost literally impossible to be 100% truthful. Here is the tale of The Man Who Never Lied.
He had lived without telling a single lie throughout his lifetime. His truthfulness was believed to be based on his level of wisdom and meditation.
People who interacted with Mamad found him to be wise and truthful on every occasion. He had a gentle demeanour and a pleasant disposition, dispensing rarely with a subtle, ironic touch of humour. Mamad was a person who preferred seclusion and divided his time between duty and meditation. He seldom presented himself in public, preferring instead to interact in private, with an audience of not more than two at a time. More than two is a crowd, and Mamad kept away from crowds. While his wise and virtuous nature was widely admired and respected, it also made him a few unscrupulous enemies.
Significant word of mouth about Mamad’s wisdom, and his virtue “never to lie”, spread across the land, and eventually the King heard about it. Filled with intrigue, and unable to digest the fact that someone could actually be so genuinely truthful, the King sent for Mamad, wishing to meet him in person to test his reputation.
Once upon a time there lived a wise man by the name of Mamad. He never lied. All the people in the land, even the ones who lived twenty days away, knew about him.
The king heard about Mamad and ordered his subjects to bring him to the palace. He looked at the wise man and asked:
” Mamad, is it true, that you have never lied?”
” It’s true.”
“And you will never lie in your life?”
” I’m sure in that.”
“Okay, tell the truth, but be careful! The lie is cunning and it gets on your tongue easily.”
Several days passed and the king called Mamad once again. There was a big crowd: the king was about to go hunting. The king held his horse by the mane, his left foot was already on the stirrup. He ordered Mamad:
“Go to my summer palace and tell the queen I will be with her for lunch. Tell her to prepare a big feast. You will have lunch with me then.”
Mamad bowed down and went to the queen. Then the king laughed and said:
“We won’t go hunting and now Mamad will lie to the queen. Tomorrow we will laugh on his behalf.”
But the wise Mamad went to the palace and said:
“Maybe you should prepare a big feast for lunch tomorrow, and maybe you shouldn’t. Maybe the king will come by noon, and maybe he won’t.”
“Tell me will he come, or won’t he?” – asked the queen.
“I don’t know weather he put his right foot on the stirrup, or he put his left foot on the ground after I left.”
Everybody waited for the king. He came the next day and said to the queen:
“The wise Mamad, who never lies, lied to you yesterday.”
But the queen told him about the words of Mamad. And the king realized, that the wise man never lies, and says only that, which he saw with his own eyes.
This tale showed that to be honest, one needs wisdom, otherwise, being truthful might be impossible even if intended.
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Source: The world of Tale