The Legend of Kalidas
The legend of Kalidas — India’s greatest playwright — always begins with the story that he was extremely stupid. In fact, he may have been the most stupid man in his part of India. Once, some wise men passed by and observed him standing on the limb of a tree and sawing off the limb while standing on the wrong side of the saw! That is, when he had successfully sawed through the branch, he would himself fall down a considerable distance — along with the branch he was removing.
The wise men were seeking a particularly stupid man so they could play a cruel trick on their arrogant princess. They had determined, after receiving considerable abuse from her, to find the stupidest man they could get their hands on and present him to the princess as an extremely wise man, a "fitting" candidate for her royal hand.
They took Kalidas to the palace and presented him as a great sage who was observing a vow of silence, and told the queen he could only communicate through gestures. Previously they’d advised Kalidas to keep his mouth shut under all circumstances and simply move his fingers and fists when questioned. The princess interrogated Kalidas and the responses of his fingers and fists, as interpreted by the wise men, made him seem the wisest man in the kingdom.
Delighted, the princess married him. Shortly after they entered the marriage chamber Kalidas uttered something and the princess, with horror, discovered she was married to a dolt. She kicked him out of the bed chamber and palace. She called him a camel and other such endearing names.
Kalidas was miserable. He determined life was not worth continuing — especially his life. He went to the river to drown himself. But once there, he observed that the rocks beside the river had been worn down by the washerwomen who scrubbed and pounded the clothes on the stones on the bank. Kalidas hesitated a moment in his desire for oblivion and studied the hollows worn in the stone banks by the washerwomen.
"If merely washing clothes can wear down something as hard as stone, surely my thick, numb, stupid mind can also be worn through," he thought.
Worth thinking about, isn’t it? A man who couldn’t saw the branch off a tree intelligently became legendary for the subtlety of his mind.
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