The Prince, The Joker & The Thief

The Joker reminisced to the Thief.

“Back in the eighties when my master, the King, swung his masterful whip over this place, I had a great time. Everyone came to me. They recognized that I could approach the throne. Things went well. I was able to set up connections and have you seen the factories and businesses that exist today. It was hard work and my net worth today is well over a billion dollars. Then it all changed”.

There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief;
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth;
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth…

“Today businessmen they drink at my table, partake of my paye’ and yet none of them know what any of it is worth. Things are not the same.

I have taken such hits”, complained the Joker to the Thief.

They say that I have hardly paid any taxes. How can I pay taxes, when I do not make enough to sustain myself? There is no King to work with, and to be truthful, I am not good at playing the King. Things go awry. Witness my attempt 15 years ago. They kicked me out and even distributed sweets in my hometown on my departure. Taken years for me to turn it around”.

No reason to get excited, the thief he kindly spoke
There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.

The Thief, he smiled a broad smile, adjusted his spectacle  and spoke kindly to the Joker.

“Now, now! Nothing to be sad about. No reason to get excited. Let’s not talk falsely now. We have done well over 25 years, you and I. You in your own way, I in mine. We have been brought up to grab opportunities and that is our way. And we can live together. My art has been thievery and I do it well. Infact, if I say so myself I am quite a master at it.”

He continued…

“My move was to steal the heart of a Princess. That was a really profitable venture. Ended up yielding billions. Lots of factories, business and palaces. Yes not to forget the palaces and chateau! Things went well and then the Princess started objecting. She had grandiose notions about herself and how she would change things. But then luck played its part once more. I notice it does in my case. The Princess was killed and they were looking for someone to take the role of the Princess, Lady luck smiled and here I am.

Now you and I know this game of opportunities. We can work this together, advised the Thief. We just need to cooperate and be patient. We have enough money and if we take turns, we could be in the driving seat for at least another decade. By then we will have collected our dues and can go off in old age to live somewhere else and retire. You to your paye, me to my indulgences.”

“But what to do about the Prince and barefoot servants?” cried the Joker. “The Prince is dangerous and the barefoot servants are not behaving like their usual self. The Prince has been doing things all his life. He has made us known worldwide. Leading us, he won that great competition, then has set up a hospital and universities and then he was trusted with the floods rehabilitation, while no one trusted us. Even I have to agree that he is honest and sincere. Suppose he gets hold of real power?”

“There are many here among us, who think life is but a joke”, laughed the Thief. “Otherwise who would trust us? But see the barefoot servants are odd. They have some well read people who oppose the Prince. They have a foreign liberal point of view. All their lives they have been educated in a different school and have forgotten what they really are. The rest are uneducated. So we use the liberal ones to break the rest and what ever resistance is left, we use our money to buy it out. Will work like magic. Ten years later when nothing is left, they will wake up too late. We will be gone by then”.

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.

Unbeknownst to all the characters in the place, outside in the distance, two riders were approaching and the wind began to howl. The riders were at war with status quo, battle dancing on their faces. One was Extreme Religion and the other was Anarchy. They were coming nearer and none of the incumbents were even aware of this approaching calamity.

Inspired by Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” written in 1966. Any resemblance to present day situation or characters is absolutely coincidental. There is no such thing as barefoot servants- no one can be that foolish in real life.


About sarfarazar
I have been lucky! A long career with large scale organisations and some acclaim. Also, took time off to write, mentor and do some education and social development projects. I continue to mentor and help younger people in life. Inshallah, hope to write on various subjects in my blog.


  1. Subjudice says:

    funny how an old song sits so well on our situation.

    • Faisal says:

      The Dylan song is not coincidental. It is part of human history, repetitive and insistent. Exploiters, some corrupt, some opportunists, the poorer classes, some uncaring others suffering, and weak. And then heroes, who can save the day. If they cannot, then the extremists are hovering in the background, to cause a revolution.

  2. sarfaraz says:

    Wonderful review of the song, Faisal…and you are right it is part of human history.

  3. Zed says:

    So based on your article is democracy our answer? Will we always throw up such characters? If finding heroes is our way then it might be better to get a lot of intellectuals together and search for just the right type of person. Put him/her through psychosomatic testing and then having passed the test make them rulers. Much better chance of success. No waste..We do this so well in corporates why not in our GOP to get good governance.

    • sarfarazar says:

      Yes well, not sure; we have flirted with many systems and none of them have worked. Democracy is wasteful..Jeremy Irons on BBC today saying he thought that the Wests systems were dysfunctional now. Can corporatisation be applied to countries? Not got the answers…just a prayer that we find an honest and efficient ruler soon.

  4. shafiq says:

    A good blog dipicting very close resemblance to our political situation. This is fruit of democracy which we are eating. A simple majority of bad, currupt and undignfied people rule over pious, honest and patriots.

  5. Syed Mustafa says:


  6. Historian says:

    Great stuff…Dylan must have dreamt this.

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