Locating a lost watch
village headman’s watch was missing. He was doing his morning errands in
the backyard. He knew where it dropped: the haystack. The haystack was a
thick pile in the barn. The watch too was quite important. It was not
that expensive, but it bore sentimental value for him. It was a gift
from his wife.
The headman tried to look through the haystack. So did his wife. But
both failed. They took half an hour to find the watch before realizing
they both had failed. When everything ended in such a way, the village
headman was thinking of alternative ways to locate the watch. He wanted
it back somehow.
May be they will get to see the watch, when the haystack is emptied.
But who knows, you will throw it away unknowingly. Or the donkeys will
devour hay along with the watch. He might not feel the watch going down
his mouth. So the village headman had a restless night. Finally he drew
an action plan.
First thing the following morning, the village headman sent a
messenger around the village. The messenger shouted inviting all
youngsters and any other capable person to come to the village headman’s
place. Locate the watch, and you will be given two-thirds of his
harvest, the headman’s message read.
Some villagers were sceptical about this promise. Two thirds is too
much to compensate a watch! But there were others who had grown fond of
the two thirds of the harvest. They made a dash to the village headman’s
residence. There were young men. There were older men. There were women
too. They all wanted one thing done: they will somehow locate the watch,
and aim for the two-thirds harvest.
Only one was given a chance at a time for the search. Village headman
believed in the ‘too many cooks…’ theory. It will only make the haystack
a mess. So it took time. One by one most of them tried to locate. But
none of them could locate the watch either. He observed the way they
were trying to locate the watch.
Everyone was in a hurry. All they were thinking was the two-thirds of
the harvest, the headman sensed. So he did not want the search to go on.
He was about to give up. But then a little boy approached him.
“I think I will find it for you.”
At first this was just another candidate to find his watch. But the
boy’s voice sounded calm and firm. The headman gave it a thought for
sometime. And then he said okay. Other candidates saw this and objected.
“You don’t give us a chance. How do you think that little boy can do
“I have a feeling he will try it out. Whether I get the watch or not,
I will give him a chance. We’ll see.”
Only two minutes lapsed. The boy came back to them with the watch in
hand. The headman felt it will happen, but he was curious how he managed
to find it in such a short period. In front of the crowd in his garden,
he demanded of the little boy to explain.
“I just sat on the ground to listen. I had the silence I wanted to
listen. Then I heard the ticking of the watch. Then the rest was
Everyone was stuck for a moment. How can such a little boy have such
“It tells us many things,” the village headman said to the crowd,
holding his watch.
“There are people among us who are not so tired. They are quite
relaxed. Remember you asked me how I believed in the little boy? I
believed in the boy the moment I saw him. You all were in a hurry to
find the watch. But he was relaxed. That’s why I wanted to give him a
chance. And most important, he did not care about the reward. So learn
the lesson from him. Give yourselves a break for a few minutes. You
can’t do anything with a tired mind.”
Did the village headman really lose his watch, or did he plot to
teach the villagers a lesson, Aravinda wondered in silence.