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Once there was a king who had a very highly evolved queen. He would always listen to his wife before taking any decisions and was counseled on important matters of the kingdom. One day the king faced a very complex task and wanted to solve it. He wanted to take the wise counsel of his wife before implementing. The queen was in her private chamber along with her friends. The king hurried up to the private chambers of the queen unannounced. When the queen saw the unnoticed and unannounced arrival of the king, causing embarrassment to all her friends, the wise consort just covered dismay with smile. She took the king aside and whispered, ” Welcome, my foolish king! What can I do for you?”

The king was totally shocked by how the queen addressed him. In her anger, he just went back to his chambers. He was confused and sad at the queen’s welcome smile but unwelcome words. He couldn’t comprehend the meaning of the smile with those words. The king had an intelligent minister whom he summoned. He narrated the whole incident and asked him to share his thoughts. The minister, after patiently hearing, gave a quick smile and said, “My Lord, the queen was telling the truth. You were foolish in your rash intrusion but you were only the first and least harmful of the 5 types of fools, on this planet. Here are the five types of fools.

Harmless Fool : The harmless fool is the one who just barges into a group of people, uninvited and unannounced and stands mute, before them like a pillar producing all-round embarrassment. While he is certainly a fool, he belongs to the harmless variety.

Interrupting Fool : The second fools is one who having been invited by his friends, misuses their courtesy, and interrupts their conversation quite often, with his own views on a subject about what he knows. He creates a situation, where his friends can neither tolerate him nor throw him out. He is more harmful than the previous kind of fool.

Proverbial Fool : The third among the fools, is the fellow who keeps on arguing and exposing his unique knowledge in an assembly, unmindful of the ridicule and unaware of the futility, thereby wasting his time and that of others. He is proverbial fool, who learns nothing and forgets nothing

Dangerous Fool : The fourth fool in the line, is the knowledgeable fool, the incorrigible fault finder, one who takes pride, while in a discussion, is finding fault with everybody, and with everything just to show off his assumed intelligence. He may attract people with half his knowledge, but he certainly repels with his brazen ego. He is a dangerous fool.

Wise Fool : The fifth fool is the unfortunate fellow who keeps company with any of the above fools, either by choice, compulsion or convenience. While his wisdom impels him to react, his predicament prevents him from responding. He is the wise fool.”

The minister concluded, “So the queen quietly indicated you, your position in order of priority, among the five types of fool. ” the king now regained his composure and also retained his respect for his queen. While he appreciated the explanations of the minister, there remained one more doubt in his mind.

“My dear minister”, said the king with twinkle of mischief in his eyes, “Now that you and the queen, have put me as the first of the five fools, may I know, to what category, do you and the queen belong?”

“Sure my Lord”, said the minister with a similar twinkle in his eyes, “While I cannot and would not answer for the queen, for my part, I can humbly say that I belong to the fifth type since I am keeping company with you!”

– A story from the Shiva Purana

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