Nonjabulo Radebe’s Heritage Day Story
The clever man
Once upon a time, there was very clever man in a certain village. People were jealous about this.
One day an old man came to visit this young clever man to ask him ask him some difficult questions to prove his intelligence. The young man answered all of his questions correctly.
The old man said, “Good, but now I have two more difficult questions to prove if you’re really that clever as the village people claim. If you answer these ones you get my respect and the whole village will respect you.”
The young man was ready to get the questions. He answered, “No problem.”
The old man cleared his throat and started talking, “Now, I have this sheep with me, if you can count its fur you win.”
The young man answered, “With great respect Sir, I will answer you but in the meantime I‘ll start counting as you said” said the young man pretending to be counting while actually thinking how he can answer the question. After some time, the young man stopped counting. “I’m done counting Sir” he said getting up. The old man was very eager to hear what he had to say, he was ready to laugh at him. He knew no one would count the sheep’s fur.
The young man said, “Sir, I counted the fur and the number that I got is equivalent to that of the stars in the sky. Now, you need to count the number of the stars in the sky to get the number that I got.”
The old Man was very angry, the young man escaped again. He knew he cannot count the number of the stars. He never gave up. “Very well. I still have one more, now if you get this one you will get my respect and the whole village will respect you. You will be the richest man in the village” said the old man. “Now come with me.”
The old man led the way to the forest where birds were busy building nests. He took his sling and aimed at one of the birds. He shot it, but he aimed for the wing for it not to die. He then took the helpless bird and hid it in his big hands. He turned to the young man with a smile. “You will never get away with this one” The old man said confidently.
“If you can tell me whether this bird is dead or alive, you win” says the old man with a victory laughter.
The young man scratched his head and thought for sometime. At last, he said, “I’m now ready to answer your question and to be the cleverest person in the village”. The old man laughed knowing that it was impossible to determine whether the bird was dead or alive. “Give it to me then” said the old man with a mockery voice.
The young man stood with confidence, he cleared his voice and started talking “Well, with great respect Sir. The life of that bird is in your hands, only you can decide whether you want it to live or to die. If I say it is alive, you will suffocate it to death. On the other hand, if I say it is dead you will let it fly freely. Now its life is in your hands!”
The old man stood in shock for a while, he was out of words. The young man was right!
He was declared the cleverest person in the village. Kings and rich men honoured him with cows, gold, silver and all the treasures. He became the richest and most respected man in the village.
He lived happily ever after with his family.