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P. V. Ramaswami Raju

The Maid and the Wise Man

A maid in the East used to say, "Society is like a dish."

A wise man once heard these words, and said, "Fair maid, what do you mean?"

"Sir," said the maid, "if you wish to know what I mean, you must have dinner with me."

"Agreed," said the wise man.

The maid laid before the wise man plates of salt, pepper, fish, and other articles, each by itself. He could eat of none of these. Last of all, the maid brought a dish of curried fish, and the sage had his dinner.

"But where is the meaning of your saying?" said the sage.

"I have explained it," said the maid.

"I don't see it," said the sage.

"Why," said the maid, "you would not eat the salt, the pepper, the fish, each by itself; but when they came together, you had your dinner."

"You are quite right, fair maid," said the philosopher; "the salt is the witty man, the pepper the tart man, the fish the dull man, and, all together, make the one social man. There is philosophy in the kitchen!"