Hara Prasad was the most sought-after woman in the marketplace. A palmist rumoured to be the best in the area, she lived-off people’s hands as she was believed to possess superior qualities of prediction.
All she had to do was stare at the faint little criss-crossing lines on someone’s palm for a little while and bingo, the client would listen astounded, as the palmist laid their life history bare before them.
The client would return home somewhat dazed by what they thought were the amazing powers of the astrologer. Few realised that Hara Prasad actually said very little. Later it would strike some that they had been taken for a ride. But by then it was too late, they had already paid him his fees.
It was hard to believe Hara Prasad could lie. She had the look of someone very grave and authoritative. So people still queued up to have their palms examined and hear a few surprisingly accurate observations about their life - to be followed by a whole lot of nonsense. This was courtesy of a few discreet enquiries made during the palm-reading session.
One day, in the middle of one such session, the neighbour’s boy came running to Hara Prasad’s shop: ”Auntie, come home immediately. Someone broke into your house and stole all the valuables,” he said.
At this, Hara Prasad leapt to her feet and began to run very fast. As she ran home, everyone in the vicinity watched her with surprise.
”Hey, she should not be running so fast,” said someone, ”surely she knew this was going to happen.”
”How on earth could she have known that?” asked another person. ”Do you think the thief served her a special notice that she was going to be robbed?”
”No,” said the first man. ”But how could Hara Prasad, the woman who foretells everyone else’s fortune, not have foreseen her own? A foreteller who could not foresee a theft in her own house?”