Summary: You can fool all the people some of the time time, you can fool some people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. - Abraham Lincoln

Once, Akbar asked Birbal to find four fools in his kingdom and bring them to him. Birbal was amused at the Emperor’s wish and said, “Jahanpanah, it is not a difficult task as this world is full of foolish people. All I need is a of few days.” Akbar readily granted Birbal’s request and gave him few days time to look out for the fools in his kingdom.

Having taken permission from the Emperor, Birbal started looking for the fools. One day, he saw a man carrying a large plate full of clothes, sweets and other expensive gift items. Out of curiosity, Birbal asked the man, “My dear man, for whom are you carrying so many costly gifts?”

The man replied, “These gifts are for my wife! She has left me and married someone else and now she has just been blessed with a baby boy. So, I have bought all these gifts for her.”

When Birbal heard the man’s reply, he thought of him as the ideal candidate to present before the Emperor. Birbal asked him to appear in the royal court whenever he called him.

Soon after, Birbal saw another man who was clumsily sitting on a buffalo and carrying a bundle of grass over his head.

Birbal asked him, “Why are you carrying this bundle over your head?”

The man replied, “Sir, my buffalo is pregnant. Don’t you think it would be cruel on her and that is why I am carrying the bundle of this grass over my head.”

Birbal could not help smiling and asked the second man also to appear in the royal court on at given time.

Next morning, Birbal called both the men to court and presented them to Akbar as the biggest fools in the kingdom. Akbar asked, “But these are only two fools. I had directed you to bring four fools to me. Where are the other two?”

Birbal folded his hands and said, “I beg your pardon , Alampanah, the third fool is none other than you, who asked me to bring these fools to you and the fourth fool is me, who has brought these fools to you.”

The Emperor burst out laughing at Birbal’s humourous reply and commended him for his ready wit.


You can fool all the people some of the time time, you can fool some people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. - Abraham Lincoln

•Who comes to your mind when you hear the word "Fool"

"Certain people immediately come to our minds with the mention of the word fool. The first person I thought of was the actor, Jerry Lewis, followed by the Three Stooges, Larry, Curly, and Mo, then the Marx Brothers, Maxwell Smart, Tim Conway, and Don Knotts. It is interesting to me that none of these men fit the definition which Proverbs gives us of the fool. The “fools” I thought of are all rather harmless creature, basically well-intentioned and innocent. All of them evoke a certain sense of pity, mixed with amusement. Not so with the fool in the Book of Proverbs. This is but one of the reasons why the study of “the fool” is important."

But if we take the words of our Lord seriously, we must begin by asking whether our study is sanctioned by Him in the light of His teaching in Matthew 5:22:

“But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother ‘Raca,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the hell of fire.”

In the Sermon on the Mount, of which this verse is a part, our Lord was attempting to show that He did not come to reduce the requirements of the Law, but to reinforce them so that they would be interpreted even more strictly than was common in Israel. Not only was it sinful to commit murder (5:21), but it was wrong to be angry with a brother (5:2f) because anger may lead to murder, just as lust may lead to immorality (5:27-30).24 To call a brother a fool is to declare him to be worthless. If a man is but a fool, a blight on society, it would be better for all if he were dead. To conclude that one is worthless, then, is to come to the conclusion that the world would best be rid of him, which is but one short step from murder. Our Lord did not condemn the assessment of a person’s character, but the assassination of one’s character.

Just as our Lord did not forbid us from discerning the character of fools, the Book of Proverbs commends this assessment as a necessity for those who would be wise. Several reasons are given for the need to discern between those who are fools and those who are wise.

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