Once upon a time there lived a poor man named Ahmad. He worked hard to make a living and was satisfied, contented and grateful with whatever he used to earn. Ahmed had a rich neighbour named Fareed who was as stingy as he was rich. It never gave him pleasure to see others, especially his poor neighbour, Ahmad, happy. He was always on the lookout for an excuse to get Ahmad into trouble.
One day, Fareed held a feast in his house. He ordered his servants to cook awesome food. The aroma of all the delicacies cooked in his house blew gently in the wind and spread all over the neighbourhood. Fareed, of course never cared to invite his poor neighbour Ahmad. Instead, he peeped over from his balcony into his neighbour’s courtyard. To his dismay, he saw the poor Ahmad sitting and enjoying the delicious smell coming from his kitchen. Fareed’s heart almost stopped in shock.
“What!” thought he, “How dare that pauper inhale the aroma from my kitchen? MY Kitchen! The aroma from the food cooked with my money! The scoundrel! How dare he?! I will make him pay for this! I will take him to the Judge and demand justice!”
Boiling with anger, Fareed marched to Ahmad’s house. Without any greeting, he shouted to his neighbour.
“You robber, you thief, you scoundrel! How dare you steal from my house!”
Poor Ahmad could not understand what theft Fareed was accusing him of. Without informing him about anything, Fareed dragged the poor man to the Judge. Word spread like wildfire and a great crowd gathered to watch the proceedings.
Fareed stood before the Judge and presented his case in a loud and pompous voice.
“Your Honour, this man had the audacity to sit in his backyard and without so much as lifting a finger, enjoy the delicious aroma of food coming from my kitchen. I demand payment for the pleasure that he enjoyed at my expense. Your Honour, you have always been just and I am sure that you will mete out justice in this case too.”
Indeed the Judge was as honourable and witty as he was just. He listened quietly – the shock on his face was slowly replaced by a twinkle in his eyes. Now he turned to Ahmad.
“ Is this accusation true ? Did you enjoy at his expense?”
“Yes, your Honor, but I could not help it.”
“Ahmad, you have to pay Fareed for the favour enjoyed. The court orders both of you to come here tomorrow at the same time. By God, justice will be done!”
Fareed gave Ahmad a scornful look and walked out of the place with a victorious smile on his lips. Poor Ahmad was bewildered. Just as he was leaving, the Judge carried him to a corner and whispered something in his ear. Ahmad’s face lit up and he hurried to his house.
Next day, the court was overflowing. The whole town, which knew about the low character of Fareed and the innocent nature of poor Ahmad, were curious as to how their Judge would solve this problem. Both Fareed and Ahmad were brought before the Judge.
Ahmad carried with him a big box. Fareed’s face glowed with anticipation as he recognized Ahmad’s money box.
‘All my money, your honour, said Ahmad.
“Okay. Now, shake the box so that all of us can be sure your box contains money”, Ordered the Judge
Ahmad shook the money box vigorously and there was a loud jingling noise. The Judge turned to Fareed.
“Oh Fareed, doesn’t that sound lovely?”
“Aah, yes, yes, Your honour”, said Fareed
“Ahmad, shake the box once more”, the Judge commanded. Ahmad obeyed.
“Fareed, don’t you feel happy to hear the sound of so many coins?” the Judge queried.
His eyes glittering, Fareed exclaimed, “Oh your honour, the sound of that money gives me utmost pleasure!” so saying, the greedy man was about to grab the money box from Ahmad.
“Don’t you dare touch it!” The grim voice of the Judge rang out. “Ahmad has paid you in full measure. Just as the aroma of your food gave him pleasure, so did the sound of his money gave you pleasure. You have been paid back in the same coin – Justice has been done.”
The court room rang with thundering applause for the Judge for his keen wit and intelligence. The Judge, his voice still grim, pronounced further: “Fareed, pay Ahmad one hundred gold coins as punishment for harassing your neighbour and disturbing peace of his household”
Ahmad returned home happy man and Fareed a wiser man.
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We will pick the best one and add it at the end of this story.