Speech is an art. When one knows what, when and how to talk, such a person will surely be successful in life, as demonstrated in the following story:
As King Haroun and Queen Zubayda were sitting in their palace one day, a fisherman selling fresh fish appeared before them. The king decided to buy a fish, and gave the fisherman 4,000 dirham for it. The fisherman was overjoyed. He profusely thanked the king and left.
Queen Zubayda turned to her husband in anger, and scolded him for paying so much for a fish. Haroun let her have her say, but decreed that the fish was already purchased. However, the Queen was very adamant, and insisted that the fisherman be brought back. She said, “We’ll ask the fisherman about the gender of the fish. If he answers that it’s female, we’ll say that we wanted a male, and if he says it’s a male, we’ll say that we wanted a female. Either way, we’ll be able to return the fish and get our money back.”
So the poor fisherman was called back, and the question was asked. He replied, “The fish is neither male or female. It is eunuch (neutral).” The king was so impressed by the ingenuity of the man, that he ordered a further 4,000 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. The queen, already upset that the fisherman had been given 8,000 dirham, said, “Look how miserly the man is! One coin fell from his bag, and he searches for it, instead of leaving it for some other poor servant to find.”
The man heard her and said, “O’ Queen, it is not out of miserliness that I search for the coin, but rather because it has the picture of King Haroun upon it. I would not tolerate anyone to dishonor the King by treading on the coin.” Much to his wife’s displeasure, the king was so happy with the fisherman’s response, that he immediately ordered another 4,000 dirham to be paid to the very happy fisherman.