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Once, a great mathematician lived in a village outside Ujjain. The king often sought his advice on matters related to the economy. He was known as far as Taxila in the North and Kanchi in the South. However, it hurt him when the village headman told him that he was a great mathematician who advised the king on economic matters but his son did not even know the value of gold or silver. The mathematician called his son and asked him which of the two is more valuable – gold or silver?The son said gold. His answer was correct. The mathematician asked his son as to why the village headman mode fun of him and claimed that he did not know the value of gold or silver.
He told him that the village headman teased him every day and mocked him before other village elders that he neglects his son. He felt that everyone in the village laughed behind his back because his son did not know what is more valuable, gold or silver. He asked his son to explain this.
The son then told his father the reason why the village headman carried this impression. He told him that every day on his way to school, the village headman calls him to his house. In front of all village elders, he holds out a silver coin in one hand and a gold coin in the other. He asks the boy to pick up the more valuable coin. The son told the mathematician that he picks the silver coin. Then everyone makes fun of him and he goes to school. This happens on a daily basis. That is why they tell the mathematician that his son does not know the value of gold or silver.
The father was confused and asked his son that despite knowing the value of gold and silver, why did he always pick the silver coin. The son took the father to his room and showed him a box. The box contained at least a hundred silver coins. He said that the day he will pick up the gold coin, the game will end, they will stop having fun and he will stop making money.
Moral - Sometimes in life, we have to play the fool’s role because our seniors and our peers like it. That does not mean we lose. It just means that others win in one arena of the game, while we win in the other arena. We have to choose which arena matters to us.