By Juan M. Flavier
The farmer was known in the barrio and in the whole kingdom as a wise man. In time, he earned the appellation as the wise farmer. He never wentto school but he had a native wisdom. His reasoning and logic were much admired.
One day, the wise farmer accidentally found a ruby stone as big as a cashew nut. He did not know where to return it so he decided to hold on to the precious stone. He knew the matter of the loss would soon be publicized.
True enough, a proclamation was made announcing the loss of the ruby of the Emperor. The stone was part of the royal crown.The decree included a handsome reward if the finder returned the stone within 30 days. Beyond that period, the holder would be beheaded. The wise farmer heard the decree but decided to return the stone on the 31st day. Facing the Emperor, the wise farmer bowed his head and handed the ruby to its rightful owner. "Did you not hear my decree limiting the return within thirty days for the handsome reward?'' roared the Emperor.
"And that beyond that period meant death?'' "Yes, your Highness,'' answered the wise farmer meekly.
"I heard the proclamation on the first day. But I decided to return the ruby on the thirty-first day for a definite reason. If I returned it within the thirty-day period, you may say I did so out of fear. I returned it today and I did so because of my God who taught me to be honest.''
"Blessed be your God,'' exclaimed the Emperor. "Now you have to show me your God otherwise I am compelled to execute you.''
"Very well,'' said the wise farmer, "I will do it at high noon tomorrow, your Highness.''
At exactly midday at the palace porch, the Emperor and his court summoned the wise farmer. "Now show me your God,'' he commanded.
"Your Highness please gaze directly at the sun above for five minutes and you will see my God.'' The Emperor and the whole court looked up. But after a few seconds, everyone's eyes smarted with great pain.
"I cannot do it!'' exclaimed the Emperor.
"In that case, you cannot see my God,'' explained the wise farmer. "If you cannot gaze at the brilliance of the sun, then you cannot look to the splendor of God.''
The Emperor was insulted by the words of the wise farmer. "For this I should have you beheaded immediately. But for returning the ruby I will give you a fair chance to be saved by your God. I will put two pieces of paper in a box. On one will be written the word Guilty' and on the other, 'Innocent.' Whichever you pick is your verdict.''
The wise farmer knew that both pieces of paper would bear the word "Guilty.'' It was the Emperor's way to make sure he was beheaded. It was also a way to discredit his God. The court attendant brought the box to the wise farmer who picked one piece of paper. Quickly he placed the paper in his mouth and swallowed it.
"Why did you do that?'' screamed the court attendant.
"Now how can we determine your verdict?''
"Very easy,'' replied the wise farmer. "Just look at the other piece of paper remaining in the box. Whatever it says is the opposite of what I picked and swallowed earlier.''
The court attendant retrieved the slip of paper from the box and read out, "Guilty!'' Which proved that the wise farmer was indeed innocent.
"When they hand you over, do not worry about what you will say or how you will say it. When the hour comes you will be given what you are to say.
For it is not you who will speak; but it will be the Spirit of your Father in you" (Matthew 10:19-20).
"The Lord is the salvation of the righteous; in time of distress, he is their refuge" (Psalm 37:39)