Poverty and Pomp

From Unto Thee We Grant...

Bahlool liked to visit the graveyards. “People here are good friends”, he used to say, “They do not backbite.” Once, he sat in a corner of a graveyard and with a long heavy stick started probing some of the old skulls which lay scattered about. Harun Rashid, the king passed by, and saw him. The he said: O Bahlool, what are you doing?

Oh nothing very important, said Bahlool. I am just trying to find out whether the skulls belong to kings or paupers. They are all the same.

And what is the stick for, Harun asked.

Well, I am measuring the earth, Bahlool replied.

Measuring the earth? What are your findings? Harun joked!

It is equal and the same, O King! Bahlool retorted. Three armlengths for me, inspite of my poverty and three armlengths for you, in spite your pomp and wealth.