The Clever Fisherman

As King Haroun and Queen Zubayda were sitting in their palace one day, a fisherman who was selling fresh fish was brought in front of them. King Parveez decided to buy a fish and gave  the fisherman 4000 dirham for it.
The fisherman was overjoyed. He thanked King Haroun and left.
Queen Zubayda turned to her husband in anger and scolded him for paying so much for a fish. King Haroun let her have her say but said that the fish was purchased and that there was nothing that could be done about it.
However, the Queen was adamant and insisted that the fisherman be brought back.
“We will ask the fisherman about the gender of the fish,” she said. “If he answers that it is female, we will say that we wanted a male fish and if his response is that it is male, we will say that we wanted a female fish! Either way, we will be able to return the fish and have our money back.”
So the poor fisherman was called back and was asked the question.
Fortunately, he was clever enough not to be caught out.

He replied, “The fish is neither male or female. It is eunuch (neutral).”
King Haroun was so impressed by the ingenuity of the man that he ordered a further 4000 dirham to be paid to him. The fisherman thanked the King again but as he was about to leave with the heavy bag of money, one of the coins fell onto the floor. The fisherman immediately bent down to look for the coin. Queen Zubayda was already upset that the fisherman had been given 8000 dirham.
“Look how miserly this man is!” the Queen exclaimed. “One coin has fallen out of his bag full of money and he searches for it instead of leaving it for some other poor servant to find.”
The man heard this remark and said, “O Queen, it is not out of miserliness that I search for the coin but rather because it had the picture of generous King Haroun on it. I would not tolerate anyone to cause dishonour to the King by treading on the coin.”
The King was so happy with this response that he immediately called for another 4000 dirham to be given to the fisherman. When Queen Zubayda saw all  this, she thought it was better to hold her tongue and let the man go with the 12000 dirham before the King decided to increase the amount again.

(Lessons from Life)

Speech is an Art. If one knows what, when and how to talk  then such a person will be successful in life. “The beauty of man is in the clarity of his tongue”. (Kanzul-‘Ummaal)
Imam Ali bin Abi Talib(A) has said,
“Your tongue is the translator of your intellect”. (Bihar al-Anwaar)

In other words, a person’s intellect and wisdom is recognized through his speech.
Source: 40 Sparks of Wisdom


Above story is the othet version of the orignal story of Bahlol. Below is the orignal story taken from the book “Bahlol the Wise”.

Haroun Rashid and a Hunter


The Khalifa was playing chess with his wife Zubaydah one Eid day. Bohlool came near them, sat down, and watched the game. A hunter saluted them by kissing the floor. He had brought the Khalifa a very good and fat fish.

Haroun happened to be drunk at that time. He gave the order to give the hunter 4,000 dirhams as reward. Zubaydah criticized Haroun, “This amount is a lot for the hunter because everyday you have to give rewards in the forts and cities; and when you give them less than this amount they will say that they are not equal to a hunter; and if you give them more, the government treasury will be empty in a few days.”

Haroun liked Zubaydah’s thought, so he asked “Now what do I do?”


“Call the hunter and ask him if the fish is a male or female. If he says it is female, say you don’t like it; if he says it is male, again say you don’t like it. Helpless, he will go; take his fish and reward away.”

Bohlool said to Haroun, “Don’t be deceived by a woman. Don’t depress the hunter.”


But Haroun didn’t listen. He called the hunter and asked, “Is the fish male or female?” The hunter kissed the floor and said, “This fish is neither male nor female, actually, it is an eunuch.”


Haroun was happy with his answer. He gave the order to give him 4,000 dirhams more as reward. The hunter took them and put them in his purse. But when he was descending the palace stairs, one of the dirhams fell out on the floor; the hunter bent and picked it up. Zubaydah said to Haroun, “How low-natured is this person that he can’t even part with one dirham.”


Haroun thought this behavior was bad, so he called him. Again Bohlool said, “Don’t stop him.”

But Haroun didn’t agree. He called the hunter and said, “How low and base is your heart that you are not ready to let the slaves have one dirham from such an amount.”


The hunter saluted again and said, “I am not base, but know how to value grace. That is why I picked up the dirham. On one side is a Quranic verse and on the other side the Khalifa’s honorable and illustrious name is engraved. If it is left on the ground, then it is certain that it will come underfoot, and this is disrespectful.”

The Khalifa again became very happy and gave the order to give the hunter another 4,000 dirhams as reward.

Bohlool said, “Didn’t I say don’t stop him?”


Haroun said, “I am crazier than you because you stopped me three times, but I did not listen to you. By following this woman, I suffered this loss.”


6 Responses to “The Clever Fisherman”

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    V.True story .A man z known by his speech .

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  6. Typing error Says:

    Why the first paragraph got King Haroun and King Parveez, is it the same people( also can say typing error hahaha :p ) or different people??

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