And every day, not wanting to appear ignorant or foolish, people would praise his wise words.

Then, one day, a young engineer - knowing nothing of sales and unaware of the guru's reputation - said loudly, "Yes, that's right, I read it on the internet!"

There was some embarrassed whispering and the guru’s entourage smiled strangely, muttering glib nothings. But the common folk had heard the engineer. "Listen to the voice of innocence. The guru has forgotten that we, his clients, look at the internet too!”

That's why, from that day forth, the guru was very careful to apply lessons to himself before giving them to others.

And finally he realised that, although his knowledge was not new, he did have a talent for capturing existing wisdom and helping others to apply it, even when they were busy and under pressure. So that, in the end, they could do things they had been meaning to for a long time.

With thanks to Mari of Valise de Calibre for her recent blog and to Hans Christian Andersen for a much older tale: The Emperor's New Clothes.