A wazir once said to a king: “Seeing something with your own eyes or hearing it with your own ears does not necessarily mean it is true.”
The king was baffled.
“How can something be false if I have seen it with my own eyes or heard it with my own ears?” he said.
The wazir persisted. The king grew irate.
“If you fail to prove what you have just said, I will send you, your wife and your child to the gallows and hang you to death,” the king warned.
The wazir accepted the challenge.
Sometime later, the king went hunting.
Back at the palace, a servant made the king’s bed – as he did every day – and then, sensing that the king was away and no one was watching him, he lay in the royal bed and fell fast asleep. A little while later, the queen came into the room and, believing that the man in the bed was her husband, lay by his side.
When the king returned from his hunt, he saw his wife sleeping with his servant. He pulled out his sword and proceeded to kill them. The commotion woke up the servant and the queen. The king was flabbergasted as both protested their innocence. He had seen them both in the bed together but had also heard them claim that they did not know how they had ended up being there with each other. So what was true? That what he saw or that what he heard?
He called the wazir who reviewed the situation carefully and turned to the king. “If you had killed them, their murder would have been on your hands,” the wazir said, and then reminded the king of what he had said earlier: “Seeing something with your own eyes or hearing it with your own ears does not necessarily mean it is true.”
This is an excerpt from the Herald's June 2018 cover story. To read more subscribe to the Herald in print.