The Optimistic Counselor

african chiefOnce in Africa there lived a chief who had an optimistic counselor who was so positive that the chief was often irritated by his practice of constantly spinning the positive on everything. The counselor never uttered a negative thought about anyone or anything. One day while the chief and his counselor were chopping their way through the thick jungle, the chief’s machete slipped and he cut off his thumb. “That’s great!” cried the counselor. “Believe me, behind this accident there is some good we do yet see.”

Angered by this insane comment, the chief grabbed the counselor and tied him to a tree. “You are a fool,” he yelled, “And now you will be food for the lions. See what good you can find in that, you idiot.” Then he wrapped his hand and set off for his village. On the way, he was accosted by a group of wild native warriors that decided that the chief would make an excellent sacrifice for their yearly offering to the volcano. They took him to their witch doctor to prepare him for this honor. As the witch doctor was anointing him with oil, he unwrapped the chief’s hand and noticed the missing thumb. “I’m sorry,” the witch doctor told the chief, “We can’t use you. The Volcano god only accepts perfect sacrifices. He would be angry if we offered him a maimed one. You are free to go.”

Ecstatic, the chief ran back to where he left his counselor. To his delight, the counselor was still alive. He was sitting there, grinning and whistling cheerfully. The chief untied him and profusely apologized. “I am terribly sorry that I tied you up for the lions.” The chief said as he untied him. “I was taken prisoner and was about to be sacrificed. But when the witch doctor saw my missing thumb, they let me go. It was a miracle, which you foretold and which I did not believe. Can you ever forgive me?” “No apology necessary,” replied the counselor. “It was a blessing that you left me tied to the tree. Because if I were with you, they would have taken me for the sacrifice!”

(Michael Michalko is the author of Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques; Cracking Creativity: The Thinking Strategies of Creative Geniuses;  Thinkpak: A Brainstorming Card Deck, and Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Brilliant, thanks for sharing!!!


  2. Posted by Murali K7 on March 13, 2015 at 1:06 am

    I am wondering when did Tenali Raman stories a poet who lived in India in 16th century in the court room of Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar empire became a counsellor for some chief in Africa?


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