Long, long ago, there lived a simpleton whose name was Shaikh Chilli. Because of his stupid but innocent actions, he was popular among his friends. They enjoyed his company.

One day, the village zamindar (landlord) sent for him. This landlord was well-known for his dishonesty. He asked Shaikh Chilli to count all the houses in the village. He promised to pay him at the rate of twenty paisa per house.

Poor Shaikh Chilli worked hard for many hours, walking through the streets and lanes. By evening, he had given the total number of houses to the zamindar and received payment.

Shaikh Chilli [Illustrations by Kusum Chamoli]
Shaikh Chilli [Illustrations by Kusum Chamoli]

Later, some of Shaikh Chilli’s friends came to know of it. They came to him.

A friend said, “You fool, you should have talked to us before agreeing to work for the zamindar. Don’t you know he is very dishonest?”

“I am sure he has cheated you,” another friend said, shaking his head sadly.

“Oh, no. This time he didn’t.” Shaikh Chilli replied confidently.

“Didn’t cheat? How do you know,” yet another friend asked.

“I know because this time I cheated him!” Shaikh Chilli replied, looking very pleased with himself. Surprised, his friends asked, “What do you mean?”

“I mean I cleverly gave him a smaller number,” came the proud reply. “In fact, I gave him half the number of houses which I had actually counted!”

232 words | 2 minutes
Readability: Grade 5 (10-11 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: stories