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Written by Abdun Nur   

The Village Idiot 

By Abdun Nur

In a rural village there lived a very quiet man, he smiled at everyone he met, was always in a good mood, never said a bad word against any other soul, always helped anyone who needed it without asking anything in return.

 

He kept himself to himself and to his own business, but was always open to happily pitch in, even without being asked.

 

The people of the village considered him an idiot, and all took advantage of his generous and undemanding nature, they laughed at him for working so hard for free, and even to his face they made fun of him. But the village idiot did not return any of their ill-will, he was always polite and simply smiled.

 

People would steal from him, and he did not complain, he grew food in his garden and all would just help themselves without asking or thanks.

 

He made toys for the children, and would give them free, he was skilled at creating these objects and the children enjoyed their wonderful gifts throughout the village, he did not leave out a single child in his efforts.

 

He lived in a small cottage on the outskirts of the village, and would leave the village once a month and return a few days later, as the villages did not pay him for anything, they assumed he had a job to maintain himself on these days every month.

 

Their contempt for the village idiot was an evolving situation, the more they took the more they felt entitled to steal, a villager needed furniture for his home, and while the village idiot was away emptied his house, taking almost everything, leaving the cottage empty except for the village idiots few personal possessions.

 

When the village idiot return home, he found he had no bed to sleep in, no table to eat from, no oven to cook with, no bedding even to sleep on the floor.

 

His only response was to lift his eyebrows and sigh. He left immediately and returned the next day with bedding, a bed and other furniture, setting himself up once more in the cottage.

 

A villager needed slates for his roof, and while the village idiot was away he stripped the slates from his cottage to put upon his own house.

 

The spring weather was windy and wet and when he returned his home was in a sorry state. With no other option he left, to organize alternative shelter.

 

He returned a few days later with a large number of roof slates and other materials for his repairs, but while he was away the villagers had stripped away the stone and timbers that formed his cottage.  He simply turned around and left.

 

The summer market opened in the town and no sign of the village idiot had been seen. People came to the village to buy at the market and asked after the friendly and helpful villager. “He has left, to who knows where” the villagers said.

 

“That is strange.” The market goers said. “Has no one investigated what has happened to make certain he is safe?”

 

“Who cares.” The villagers said. “He was an idiot.”

 

Word spread far and wide, of the treatment of the missing villager by all the villagers, people began to avoid trading with the village; they looked upon the villagers as corrupt and dishonest, shunning them.

 

The people of the village suffered financial lose, and were social outcasts. The village was known as the village of the idiots.

 

A villager was in the main town nearest to his village, and heard what others were calling his village, he asked. “Why do you call our village, the village of the idiots?”

 

“Because you abused the wisest soul in your village to the point you drove him away. Then insulted him in his absence to the point you drove away your neighbours.” Was the reply.

 

Year after year the village became poorer and poorer, the people were sad and ashamed of how they had acted and how those around them now perceived them.

 

They had a meeting of all the villagers and it was decided, they would work together and restore the house they had destroyed, replace the furniture they had stolen, rebuild the beautiful garden, and make the cottage far better than the original.

 

After they all worked together to achieve this goal, they nominated someone to go out and search for the man they had abused, to find him and ask him to return once again.

 

The searcher looked from town to town, he ask all he met if they had seen the man he searched for, but no one had.

 

Returning to the village he explained his failure. The villagers were now isolated by those around them, no one would trade with them, people laughed at them and called them idiots behind their backs, they were becoming poorer and poorer as no one would even talk with them.

 

We are in the same position we placed the man we called an idiot, the villagers concluded, then we must follow his example some said, they began to help each other without demand or thanks, they created gardens for all to share, they went out to the neighbouring villages to give them help, to provide them with free food, to always be happy, and to smile and be friendly.

 

As the years passed the market returned to a vibrant and happy place, far better than anything of the past, village life was filled with happiness and joy, and everyone tended the cottage of the missing idiot, in hopes of his return, for now all knew he was indeed the wisest man of the village, because he had taught them by example how to live in happiness.

 

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Jamadil Awal
2
Friday
1439 HIJRAH

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