A long time ago, a man got widowed and took care of his two daughters. They both were intelligent, curious and always wanted to learn more and more.
They made all kind of questions to their father almost all the time, just to satisfy their hunger for knowing. Sometimes the man could answer wisely, but others the girls questions couldn’t be answered that easily.
Seeing this situation of continuously questioning, the man decided to send them on holidays with a sage who lived on top of a hill. He was able to answer every single question the girls could set out.
One day, the curious girls decided to make the old man a mischievous trap in order to measure his wisdom. They thought about proposing him a question he wouldn’t be able to answer.
– How can we trick the sage? What question can we make him?
Asked the younger sister.
+ Wait here, I’ll show you now.
Said the elder one. Afterwards, she went out to the hill and come back about an hour later. She brought her apron as a kind of sac. Then she showed her little sister its inside. It contained a blue butterfly.
– It’s beautiful! What are you doing with it?
+ It’s going to be our weapon to make the trap question to the sage. We’ll look for him and I’ll hide this butterfly in my hand. So I’m going to ask him if the butterfly in my hand is alive or dead. If his answer is alive, I’ll squeeze my hand and I’ll kill it. If his answer is dead, I’ll set it free. Therefore, his answer will always be wrong.
Agreeing this proposal the two girls went to seek the sage.
+ Sage, Can you tell us if the butterfly I have in my hand is dead or alive?
The sage, wisely answered:
- It depends on you, it is in your hands.