Once, a man sold his well to a farmer in return of some money. Next day, when farmer went to draw the water from that well, the man forbade him to draw the water from it. He said, “I have sold you just the well, not the water, which is why you cannot draw the water from the well.”
The farmer felt cheated and appealed for justice in the Emperor’s court. He narrated the entire incident to the Emperor and demanded the man to be taken to task for being dishonest with him.
The Emperor called Birbal and handed over this case to him. Birbal summoned the other man also in the court.
When the man presented himself before the court, Birbal asked him, “Why don’t you let him use the water of the well? You have sold the well to the farmer.” The cunning man replied, “Respected Sir, I have sold the just the well to the farmer, not the water. And thus, he has no right to draw the water from the well.”
Birbal smiled and said, “Very well! But, since you have sold the well to this farmer, you have no right to keep your water in the farmer’s well. You must either pay rent to the farmer to keep your water in his well, or you take your water out of his well immediately. You must keep the thing the thing that belongs to you with yourself. Am I right?”
The cunning man realized that it was not possible for him to cheat the farmer anymore. He apologized to him for his trickery and withdrew his claim over the water of the well.
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