Once upon a time, Raman set out on a long journey. In those days, one had to walk through the jungle to get to another city. On the way, another traveler joined Raman. “This place is infested with thieves. I am afraid they will rob me. Can I travel with you?” the man asked Raman. Raman readily agreed.

That night, the two of them stopped at someplace to rest. Raman was tired and fell asleep soon. His companion was waiting for this moment. In fact, he was a thief who used to rob travelers. He got up and looked under Raman’s pillow without disturbing him. He found nothing. He carefully searched Raman’s pockets looking for money. To his disappointment, he did not find even a paisa! Then he opened the bundle Raman was carrying. Again, he found nothing.

The next morning, the two resumed their journey. They halted for the night. Raman had a sound sleep. His companion searched Raman’s belongings, looking for money and valuables. Again, he was disappointed.

The next day, the two travelers reached the holy city of Tirupati, and they had to part company. The companion confessed that he was a thief. “ I have never met with failure. But this time I failed. Now that we are parting company, please tell me where did you hide the money in the night?” pleaded the thief. “Unless I know your secret, I may not be able to sleep,” he confessed.

Raman smiled, “I knew you were a thief the moment I saw you. I took care to hide money where you would never find it.”

“But where? I looked for it everywhere,” cried out the thief.

“Did you look for it under your pillow?” asked Raman.

“I looked for it under your pillow and found nothing. Why should I look for your money under my pillow?” asked the bewildered thief.

“Because I hid the money under your pillow,” said Raman, “I was confident it was the one place you would never look for my money.”

Story: Subba Rao| Illustration: Goutam P Sen

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