An old couple had three sons. They all grew up and got married. The old couple were proud of their daughters-in-law. One day the husband found his wife lost in thought. “What is bothering you?” he asked.
The wife smiled and said, “My daughters-in-law are beautiful, obedient and hard working. I’m pleased with all of them. Yet, I wonder who is the most intelligent.”
“We can easily find that out,” said the husband with a smile.
He called the girls and gave them a task. “I want each of you to fill an entire room with any substance you choose,” he said, “Remember, the whole room must be filled with the substance.”
The girls agreed to carry out the task.
“How many days do you need?” asked the man.” One week? Four weeks?”
The girls looked at each other and smiled, “We only need a few minutes.”
“Alright, we will visit each of your rooms and see,” said the man.
That evening, the husband and wife visited the first daughter-in-law’. She received them with a smile and took them to the room which was closed. “What have you filed this room with?” asked the mother-in-law. Without saying a word, the girl threw open the door.
“Why, this room is empty!” exclaimed the old lady. But her husband smiled as he took a deep breath. “What a wonderful fragrance,” he said, pointing out the lighted incense in the corner. Turning to his daughter-in-law, he said approvingly, “You are smart. You have filled the entire room with fragrance.”
The couple then paid a visit to the second daughter-in-law. They found her sitting in her room which appeared empty. She was singing a song. Her voice was so melodious that the old couple entered the room and sat there listening to her song.
At last when the song ended, the mother-in-law appreciated her singing. “But your room is empty,” she said complaining.
“You want to hear another song?” asked the girl.
The old man laughed. “Smart. So you filled the room with the sound of music.”
By the time the couple called on the third daughter-in-law, the sun had set. It was winter and it was getting dark. The girl opened the door and requested them to come in. The otherwise empty room was lit with a single lamp at the centre.
“So you filled the room with light!” exclaimed the mother-in-law. The old man was happy. At last, his wife caught up with his smart daughters-in-law.
By then their sons came home from work. The old man told his sons, ”You are fortunate to have such intelligent wives. Whenever you are in doubt, seek their advice. You can trust their judgment.”
The daughters-in-law beamed with happiness.