THE CLOWN, THE FARMER AND
In their groundless favouritism, people often make mistakes;
they stand behind a judgment made in error until the actual fact
of the matter later compels them to regret their choice.
There was a certain wealthy man, a prominent citizen, who was about to sponsor
a public entertainment. He invited anyone who had some novelty to perform, promising
to pay them a fee. Professional performers came to compete for public acclaim,
and among them was a clown who was well known for his sophisticated sense of
humour. He said that he had a type of spectacle that had never been performed
in any theatre before. The rumour spread throughout the city, sparking the public's
interest. Theatre seats that had recently been left empty were now not enough
for the gathering crowd. After the clown came out by himself on the stage, with
no equipment and no assistants, a hush of anticipation silenced the spectators.
Then the clown suddenly lowered his head towards his chest and imitated the sound
of a little pig. The sound was so true to life that the audience maintained that
there must be a real little pig concealed under his cloak and they demanded that
it be shaken out. But when the cloak was shaken out, it proved to be empty, so
they lavished the clown with praise and he left the stage to resounding applause.
A country bumpkin saw what had happened and said, 'By gosh, I can do better than
that!' He immediately promised that he would do the same thing, only better,
the following day. The crowd grew still larger and favouritism had already swayed
their perception; you could tell that they had not come to watch the performance
so much as to make fun of it. The two men came out onto the stage. The clown
squealed as he had done the day before, provoking the audience's applause and
shouts of approval. Now it was the turn of the country bumpkin, who pretended
to conceal a little pig beneath his clothes -- and this time there really was
a hidden pig, although of course the audience had not found anything under the
clown's cloak at the previous performance. The man then pulled the ear of the
real pig that was hidden in his clothes, producing an authentic squeal of pain.
The audience shouted that the clown had given a far more realistic performance
and they were prepared to drive the country bumpkin off the stage. But he then
pulled the actual pig from inside his cloak and showed it to the audience, denouncing
their gross error with incontrovertible evidence. 'Here you go!' he said. 'This
little pig proves what kind of judges you are!'