Once, Intelligence and Luck were taking to one another. ‘If I enter a person, I can make him famous overnight,’ said Intelligence.
‘Yes perhaps, ‘relied Luck, ‘but if I bestow my favour on a common man, I can raise him from his lowly status to that of a king.’
Intelligence was not convinced. ‘I am better and more important than you,’ he said proudly.
‘No,’ retorted Luck, ‘I am better than you.’
Each refused to listen to the other. Thus they began to argue. Finally Intelligence had an idea: ‘It is no use arguing. Let us have a competition to decide which of us is supplier. You will first enter a man, and afterwards I shall enter him, and whichever of us can make him famous will be the winner.’
Now it so happened that at that very moment a poor peasant was returning home after a hard day’s work in the fields. ‘Look how poor he is,’ said Luck, pointing to him. ‘Give me three days and I shall show you what I can make of him.’
Intelligence did not believe him: ‘All right, let us see what you can do.’
Thus Luck entered the poor peasant as he was returning to his hut in the mountains.
Early next morning the king of that country went out hunting in the same mountains, and by noon he felt very thirsty. Seeing the peasant’s hut, he approached and knocked on the door. The peasant came out. ‘My good man,’ said the king, ‘I am extremely thirsty. Give me something to drink.’
The man went indoors and returned promptly with a bowl of cold milk. Now this man hid no intelligence, so he did no greet the kink or show him any sign of respect. Instead he said brusquely, ‘Take this, drink it, and go on your way.’ The king was annoyed by the peasant’s lack of country, but once his thirst had been quenched he felt better disposed towards him.
‘What work do you do?’ asked the king politely.
I am an honest labourer, not a thief,’ replied the peasant, as though he had been accursed of stealing.
‘Since you claim to be honest, I shall make you my servant,’ said the king.
‘I am willing to be your servant, but on one condition,’ said the stupid peasant, ‘and that is that my salary should be equal to that of the vizier.’
To his surprise, the king agreed, and so the poor peasant traveled to the royal palace with his new master.
Now when the courtiers heard that the peasant was to receive the same salary as the vizier, the king’s chief minister, they were astonished, and wondered why the king was being so generous to such an stupid and uncouth man, and they ridiculed the newcomer whenever they were given the opportunity.
The vizier was indignant that someone else should receive a salary equal to his own. So he began to plot the peasant’s downfall. One day, he called the peasant to one side. ‘The king loves you very dearly,’ be said. ‘Tomorrow, when he is seated on his throne, you must take him by one leg and drag him to the middle of the court room.’
Since the peasant had no intelligence, he agreed to follow the vizier’s advice. Next day, when the king was seated no his throne and holding court, the peasant ran into the room, caught hold of one of the king’s legs, and dragged him to the middle of the room. The king was shocked and speechless with anger. The conduct of his new servant seemed incomprehensible to him until he heard a crash. He looked round and saw that the roof under which he had been sitting had collapsed, killing everyone who had been standing or sitting beneath it. Luck had come to the peasant’s rescue. The king was very pleased. He summoned the peasant and thanked him for saving his life, and bestowed many honours upon him.
The vizier was puzzled by this unexpected turn of events and became even more jealous he had wished to ring discredit upon the peasant, but instead he had only helped to bring him more success. For many days he was lost in thought, hatching plots to discredit and ruin the peasant. But all his efforts came to naught. Luck was on the side of the poor peasant: whatever he did turned out well, and the king was delighted with him and showered him with gifts and gold coins.
Now, although his efforts to bring about the peasant’s downfall had repeatedly failed, the vizier continued to devise new schemes. One day, he again called the peasant aside and said, ‘In the past you have greatly benefited from following my advice. The king is very pleased with you and you have been well rewarded. Listen and I shall tell you how to gain even more rewards. Tomorrow, when the king arrives and sits down on his throne, you most knock the turban off his head with a hard blow.’
‘It is true,’ the peasant said to himself, ‘In the past the kind vizier has given me good advice, so I had better do what he suggests.’
Next day, when the king arrived and seated himself on his throne, the peasant knocked the turban off his head with a hard blow. The king was furious and stamped his feet in rage. But, lo and behold, when he looked at his turban, he saw, to his astonishment, that there was a large scorpion inside it. One of his courtiers then boldly stepped forward and killed it. The king realized that his life had been saved once again and that now he was doubly indebted to his new servant, so he called for the servant and offered him his daughter’s hand in marriage.
‘There!’ said Luck to Intelligence. ‘Now what do you think? Should I make him a king, or is this sufficient proof of my power”
‘No, wait,’ answered Intelligence. ‘Let me show you what miracles I can performs.’
So Luck abandoned the man and Intelligence entered him. Form that moment onwards the peasant became cautious and pondered deeply before taking any action.
One day, the king was taking an afternoon nap in the garden when a pigeon flew by and let fall its droppings on his collar. The peasant happened to be passing. He saw this, and thought to himself: ‘If the king wakes up and sees this dirt on his collar, he will be very angry.’ So he took out his dagger and, as quickly and as quietly as he could, he tried to remove the droppings. But suddenly, with a start, the king awoke. ‘You ungrateful wretch!’ he cried in anger when he saw the dagger in his servant’s hand. ‘so now your want to murder me and sit on my throne.’ Without waiting for an explanation, he ordered his guards to cut off the man’s head. And, without delay, the executioner cut off his head with one stroke of the sword.
Intelligence said nothing. ‘Now do you admit that I am superior!’ said Luck triumphantly.