A poor farmer had two sons, Azam and Moazzam. Their mother had died in their childhood. Now their father also died and the boys inherited his property which consisted of a cow, a date-palm tree and a blanket.
Azam, the elder brother, was very greedy and clever, but his younger brother, Moazzam, was simple and trusting. Azam suggested that they should divide the property left by their late father.
"How shall we divide the cow, for instance?" asked Moazzam. "Cut it into two?"
"No, stupid!" answered Azam, "we shall just divide it verbally. For instance, the front part of the cow, which is the better part, shall be yours while the rear part shall be mine. Agreed?"
"Oh, yes thank you very much." Moazzam was delighted with the generosity of his elder brother.
"Similarly, the top of the date-palm, which you cannot climb, shall be mine while the lower part, that's the trunk, shall be yours. Agreed?"
"Yes, agreed," answered Moazzam cheerfully, "And what about the blanket?"
"It shall be mine only from sunset to sunrise, that's only during the night. It shall be yours for the whole day."
"Agreed," said Moazzam, thinking happily that it was a fair division.
Now Moazzam would feed the cow and Azam would milk it. He would not give a drop of milk to Moazzam; instead, he would praise Moazzam for looking-after the cow and feeding it so well. It pleased the innocent younger brother so much that he gave even more grass to the cow and the cow gave more milk.
In the same manner, Moazzam regularly watered the date palm tree. When the dates were ripe for picking, Azam climbed the tree and picked all the fruit. He did not offer even a single date to his younger brother. Of course he praised him for looking after the tree so well. Moazzam was quite content with it.
As regards the blanket, Moazzam had no use for it because it was hot during the day. At night when it grew cold, he would shiver, while Azam enjoyed a deep, comfortable sleep under the warm blanket.
This went on for some time. An old man of the village noticed how the younger brother was being cheated by the elder brother. One day, the old man went to their house and found Moazzam feeding the cow.
"Why are you feeding the cow?" said the old man.
"Because the front part is mine," answered Moazzam.
"And who gets the milk?"
"My brother, because the rear part belongs to him," answered Moazzam innocently.
"Does he give you any milk?" asked the old man.
"Then you are a fool. You look after the cow and feed her, and your brother gets all the milk!"
"But what can I do?" said Moazzam helplessly. "This is all according to the agreement between us."
"Come here and listen to me." The old man whispered something in his ear.
Next morning, as usual, Azam began to milk the cow. Moazzam also came with a short stick, and hit the cow's head. The cow moved this way and that.
"Stop it," Shouted Azam. "Don't you see I am milking the cow? Don't disturb her."
I'm only hitting the front part which is mine," said Moazzam, "I shall do what I like with my part of the cow."
Azam was a clever boy, so he guessed that somebody had advised Moazzam to do that.
"All right, I shall give you half the milk and, now, stop beating the cow."
"And you must also share in the feeding of the cow," said Moazzam; and Azam had to agree to this.
After a few days, Azam climbed the date-palm tree to pick ripe dates. He had hardly collected a handful of dates when he heard the sound of an axe striking the tree. He looked and saw Moazzam was cutting the trunk of the tree with an axe.
"Hey, what are you doing?" shouted Azam. "Don't you see I'm up here picking dates?"
"I'm only cutting my part of the tree," said Moazzam, and went on cutting.
"I shall give you half of the dates, but you must stop cutting the tree," called out Azam.
"And you must also share in the watering of the tree," shouted Moazzam, and Azam had to agree to this, too.
The same night, when Azam came to take the blanket, he found that it was wet.
"What have you done with the blanket?" he asked. "How can I sleep under it?"
"1 don't know," answered Moazzam innocently. "It's mine during the day-time, and I can do with it what I please."
"Very well, dear brother, from tomorrow night we shall share the blanket," said Azam. "We shall sleep together and shall be more comfortable."