Once upon a time three men left their town and decided to go north in search of wealth. They travelled through a forest, towards the north and they eventually reached a huge mountain. From the outside, they could see that the mountain had a lot of caves and so they decided to explore it. The three men went inside and they explored various caves. In one such cave, they found lots of treasure. There were gems of various sizes among various other ornaments and gold coins. The three men each took the largest gem they could find and with that they left the cave and the mountain.
The three men then decided to go back to town and sell the gems. But they had to go south and pass by the forest through which they had come. At this point one of the men interrupted the other 2 and said that there would be bandits waiting in the forest to loot the travellers. He also said that it was by pure luck that they did not encounter them when they first passed through the forest. The other 2 men agreed and so after a serious discussion, they decided to break the gem and eat it with their food, so that they could escape even if they were checked by the bandits. Meanwhile, a robber overheard everything that was being discussed.
The 3 men proceeded south with the robber following them from behind at a safe distance. The robber’s plan was to kill them at night and then take the gems from them after cutting open their stomach. After some time, he approached them and asked if he could join them till he reached the nearby town. The 3 men agreed as he would be an extra man in their company and they could help each other better, in case the bandits attacked. But soon ahead, they were rounded up by a group of bandits and taken to their chief.
The chief asked where they were coming from and when the men said they were coming from the north, he asked if they had found any treasures. To this, the men replied that they did not have any wealth on them. The chief then ordered his bandits to search them and they too found nothing. After some thought, the chief ordered his bandits to tie the 4 men up. He then said that each of them will be taken separately and their stomachs will be cut up to see if they have swallowed any gems. The 3 men shuddered at the very thought of this and they did not know what to do.
But the robber had a sudden change of heart. He knew that all 4 of them were going to die anyway and so he came up with a plan. He then asked the chief to cut open his stomach first and if he did not find anything, he would release the other 3 men. The chief agreed to this and a bandit cut open the robber’s stomach. The bandit did not find any wealth and he reported this to his chief. The chief was dismayed and he let the other 3 men go. The 3 men were shocked at what was going on, but nonetheless, they were thankful to the robber for having saved their lives.
Moral – A known devil is better than an unknown angel, likewise, one should also be careful of the company they keep.