Amadou The Wise Man

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At Timbuktu, in Mali, there lived a very wise man whose name was Amadou. Men came from all parts of the land to see him and hear him talk.
But wise as he was, he had some very strange ways. He did not believe that any man ought to have more things than he really needed; and he said that no man needed much. And so he did not live in a house, but only slept on a mat, which he rolled up in the morning and carried about from place to place. He spent his days sitting in the sun, and saying wise things to those who were around him.
At noon one day, Amadou was seen walking through the streets with a lighted lamp, and looking all around as if in search of something.
"Why do you carry a lantern when the sun is shining?" some one said.
“I am looking for an honest man," answered Amadou.

When a great Emir came from afar to visit Timbuktu, all the fore-most men in the city came out to see him and to praise him. But Amadou did not come; and he was the only man for whose opinions Emir cared.
And so, since the wise man would not come to see the Emir, the Emir went to see the wise man. He found Amadou in an out-of-the-way place, lying on the ground on his mat. He was enjoying the heat and the light of the sun.
When he saw the Emir and a great many people coming, he sat up and looked at the royal visitor. The Emir greeted him and said,—
"Amadou, I have heard a great deal about your wisdom. Is there anything that I can do for you?"
"Yes," said Amadou. "You can stand a little on one side, so as not to keep the sunshine from me."
This answer was so different from what he expected, that the Emir was much surprised. But it did not make him angry; it only made him admire the strange man all the more. When he turned to ride back, he said to his officers,—
"Say what you will; if I were not your Emir, I would like to be Amadou."

Created by Rotimi


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