A THIEF entered the palace of a king in the dead of night and overheard the king saying to the queen, “I shall give my daughter in marriage to one of those sadhus (holy men) who are dwelling on the bank of the river,” The thief thought within himself: “Well, here is good luck for me. I will go and sit among the sadhus tomorrow in the disguise of a sadhu, and perchance I may succeed in getting the king’s daughter.”
The next day he did so. When the king’s officers came soliciting the sadhus to marry the king’s daughter, none of them consented to it. At last they came to the thief in the guise of a sadhu, handmade the same proposal to him. The thief kept quiet. The officers went back and told the king that there was a young sadhu who might be influenced to marry the princess and that there was no other who would consent. The king then came to the sadhu in person and earnestly entreated him to honour him by accepting the hand of his daughter.
But the heart of the thief was changed at the king’s visit. He thought within himself: “I have only assumed the garb of a sadhu, and behold! the king comes to me and is all entreaties. Who can say what better things may not be in store for me if I become a real sadhu!” These thoughts so strongly affected him that, instead of marrying under false pretences, he began to mend his ways from that very day and exerted himself to become a true sadhu. He did not marry at all, and ultimately became one of the most pious ascetics of his day. The counterfeiting of a good thing sometimes leads to unexpected good results. (107)