The Foolish Servant
Narrated by Ayelew Haile
There was once a chief in a certain village who had a very foolish servant. He was so foolish that he never did anything without orders. You must tell him always to fetch things.
You must say, “Do this, do that,” otherwise he wouldn’t do it.
He wouldn’t pick up anything unless you tell him to do so.
One day the chief was riding his mule and going to the court, and his purse fell onto the ground and he didn’t see and the servant didn’t pick it up, because he was not told to do so. So later on the chief put his hand into his pocket and found that his purse was missing.
“Oh! What a bad day! I have lost my purse!”
The servant said, “Oh, I have seen it. It fell down in such and such a place.”
“Well, so how could you keep quiet when I lose money? I had money in my wallet. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Oh master, you didn’t tell me to pick it up. No one told me, so I kept quiet.”
The man was angry. So he gave him a warning not to keep quiet when anything drops from his pocket, or from his horse’s bridle or tack.
On another day, the master was riding the mule and the servant was following him on foot, waiting for anything that drops from his master or from the mule.
So he collected the dung that dropped from the horse and put it in a sack, along with the mud kicked up from the hooves.
When they reached the court, the master said, “Didn’t you see anything fall to the ground today?”
“Oh yes, master!”
The master reached into his pocket but his purse was there.
“What else dropped?”
He showed him the sack full of mud and manure.
“This is not what you should have kept!”
He was angry.
He said, “From now on, you will pick up the following: my wallet, my money, my hat, my whip and any part of the horse’s tack.”
He took a piece of paper and wrote all the items down on the list.
“From now on,” the master said, “These are the items which you will pick up and you will not pick up anything beside them.”
So on their third journey the servant was following his master while reading the list on the paper. He didn’t collect the dung and the mud this time because it wasn’t written.
"My master never ordered this," he thought.
On the fourth journey he did the same. He strictly followed the list on the paper. But that day there was an accident. The horse fell and the master fell into a pit, wounded.
The master cried, “Come! Rescue me! Take me out of this pit!”
But the servant said, “Oh master, it is not written here, so I will not touch you,” and he went on his journey.
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