Latiff was the poorest beggar of the village. Every night he slept in the hall of a different house, in front of the town square.Every day he had a short rest under a different tree, with a widespread hand and a far away look in his thoughts. Every evening he would eat the alms or the crusts that some charitable person brought over to him.Without embargo, in spite of his aspect and the way his days happened, Latiff was considered by all to be the wisest man of town, perhaps not so much because of his intelligence, but by what he had lived.
One sunny morning the king appeared in the square, surrounded by his guards, walking between the fruits and trinkets looking for nothing.Laughing at the merchants and at the buyers, the king and his entourage almost stumbled over Latiff, who was dozing in the shade of a holm oak. Someone told the king that he was in front of the poorest of his subdits, but also in front of one of the most respected men because of his knowledge.
The king, entertained, approached the beggar and said to him, "If you answer my question, I will give you this golden coin."Latiff looked at it, almost contemptuously, and said to him, "You can keep your coin, what will I do with it anyway? What is your question?"The king felt defied by the response and instead of a banal question, he asked a question that was bothering him for days and that he could not solve; a problem of goods and resources that analysts had not solved for him.Latiff's response was wise and creative.
The king was surprised; he left the coin at the feet of the beggar and continued on his way to the market, pondering the events.The next day he came back directly to where Latiff was resting; this time under an olive grove. Again the king posed a question and again Latiff answered it rapidly and wisely. The king was surprised again at so much intelligence. In a humble act, he took off his sandals and sat in front of Latiff."Latiff, I need you", the king said to him. "I am overwhelmed by the decisions that as king I must make. I do not want to harm my people and neither do I want to be an evil king. I ask you to come to the palace to be my adviser. I promise you that you should not fear at all, that you will be respected and that you will be able to leave whenever you want... Please."Whether it was out of compassion, for service or for surprise, Latiff, after thinking a few minutes, accepted the proposal of the king.