He was lying one day by the side of the river which was his resting place. Four thieves, whose function was…because in those days almost all over the world man was sold and purchased. Women particularly had a good price, and healthy strong men also had a good price. Slaves were an accepted fact almost all over the world. So these four thieves were engaged in the business of catching hold of people and taking them to the marketplace.
They saw this man and discussed among themselves: “This man will fetch a good price, perhaps the best ever. But he seems to be too strong even for four persons. He will kill us if we try to catch hold of him; he looks dangerous.”
And Diogenes was listening because they were discussing what to do just behind the bushes. Diogenes said, “You idiots! You don’t have to do anything! Just come out! Follow me!”
They said, “But where?”
He said, “To the marketplace where you want to sell me! There is no need to catch hold of me. I am coming on my own. Let this be also an experience. Anyway I am good for nothing.”
The thieves became very afraid seeing the strangeness of the man. “Even to follow him is dangerous; he may turn, or jump and hit somebody.” They kept their distance.
Diogenes said, “Don’t be afraid! Just stay close! Are you taking me to the marketplace or am I taking you?”
With great fear they came close to him. And in the marketplace where people, men and women, were auctioned, Diogenes jumped on the table and shouted at the crowd that had come to purchase people, “Here is a master for sale! Is there any slave who is ready to purchase him?”
There was great silence, the man certainly was a grandeur in himself. Even kings had come to purchase but they had to think twice whether to purchase this man. He could be dangerous, he could be ferocious if he can jump on the table and declare himself, “Here is a master! Is there anyone ready to purchase him?”
Finally one king dared to purchase him, and he said, “To whom is the money to be given?” Diogenes showed those four persons who were hiding in the crowd. “Give the money to these four people. They have brought me here. And bring your chariot closer so I can come in the chariot.”
Now slaves are not supposed to order kings, but even this king felt a weakening of the heart. He told his charioteer to bring the chariot close by. Diogenes jumped on the chariot and sat by the side of the king, and the king was trembling. He had purchased unnecessary trouble. This man can simply take him by the neck and throw him out of the chariot. “Rather than purchasing a slave I have purchased a master; he was right.”
But Diogenes said, “Don’t be afraid; I’m not going to do any of the things that you are thinking. I am a peace-loving man. Let us make an agreement: I shall not disturb you, you should not disturb me.”