Tuesday, July 5, 2016

THE EIGHTEENTH CAMEL






Pic.: Azriel D'Souza



Years ago, when I had decided to do something about my poor English, one of the things I did – and found very effective – was telling a nice story in two tenses… the Present and the Past. Over the years, I have helped hundreds of people, who were earnest about improving their English, with the same method… Yes, write a nice story down in both the tenses… and, then, tell it to someone…

Whenever I hear from someone the famous management phrases – ‘Out-of-the-box thinking’ or ‘A win-win solution’, yes, that’s the time, this endearing story comes before me. It makes me realize, that, in life, very problem has a solution if we stand out of our problems and see…



THE EIGHTEENTH CAMEL


PAST:

In the Arab land, there lived a man who had three sons. He owned seventeen camels which he wanted his three sons to inherit after his death. So, he made  a Will before he died.

After the death of their father, the sons opened the Will. The father wanted one-half of the total number of camels to the first son, one-third to the second and one-ninth to the third. This left the three sons confused and fighting… There was no way to divide the seventeen camels the way their father had willed… It unleashed a prolonged, bitter conflict among the three sons…

Finally, they took the matter to a wise-man, who, after mulling over their problem, came out with a solution. “I will give one of my camels to you guys,” the wise man said to them, “Now, you will be able to fulfill your father’s wish and stop fighting.”

It, indeed, resolved the conflict. When the young-men added the extra camel given by the wise man, the total became eighteen… They could, now, divide. One-half was 9… It went to the first son; one-third was six… It went the middle son; and, one-ninth was two… It went to the last son.

“Are you all happy, now?” the wise man asked.

“Yes, we are.”

The three sons had shared their father’s seventeen camels exactly as per his Will. There was one still left – the eighteenth camel… It hadn’t come from their father, they knew it well; so, they could not fight over it…

“Let me take back my camel,” the wise man said to the young-men, “I will take it as the fee for my services… So, I, too, am happy!”


PRESENT:

In the Arab land, there lives a man who has three sons. He owns seventeen camels which he wants his three sons to inherit after his death. So, he makes a Will before he dies.

After the death of their father, the sons open the Will. The father wants one-half of the total number of camels to the first son, one-third to the second and one-ninth to the third. This leaves the three sons confused and fighting… There is no way to divide the seventeen camels the way their father has will… It unleashes a prolonged, bitter conflict among the three sons…

Finally, they take the matter to a wise-man, who, after mulling over their problem, comes out with a solution. “I will give one of my camels to you guys,” the wise-man says to them, “Now, you will be able to fulfill your father’s wish and stop fighting.”

It, indeed, resolves the conflict. When the young-men add the extra camel given by the wise-man, the total becomes eighteen… They can, now, divide. One-half is 9… It goes to the first son; one-third is six… It goes to the middle son; and, one-ninth is two… It goes to the last son.

“Are you all happy, now?” the wise-man asks.

“Yes, we are.”

The three sons have shared their father’s seventeen camels exactly as per his Will. There is one still left – the eighteenth camel… It hasn’t come from their father, they know it well; so, they cannot fight over it…

“Let me take back my camel,” the wise-man says to the young-men, “I will take it as the fee for my services… So, I, too, am happy!”


GERALD D'CUNHA

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