[Greed and Honesty]
a time in a place called Seri, there were two salesmen of pots
and pans and handmade trinkets. They agreed to divide the town
between them. They also said that after one had gone through his
area, it was all right for the other to try and sell where the
first had already been.
One day, while
one of them was coming down a street, a poor little girl saw him
and asked her grandmother to buy her a bracelet. The old grandmother
replied, "How can we poor people buy bracelets?" The
little girl said, "Since we don't have any money, we can
give our black sooty old plate." The old woman agreed to
give it a try, so she invited the dealer inside.
saw that these people were very poor and innocent, so he didn't
want to waste his time with them. Even though the old woman pleaded
with him, he said he had no bracelet that she could afford to
buy. Then she asked, "We have an old plate that is useless
to us, can we trade it for a bracelet?" The man took it and,
while examining it, happened to scratch the bottom of it. To his
surprise, he saw that underneath the black soot, it was a golden
plate! But he didn't let on that he had noticed it. Instead he
decided to deceive these poor people so he could get the plate
for next to nothing. He said, "This is not worth even one
bracelet. There's no value in this. I don't want it!" He
left, thinking he would return later when they would accept even
less for the plate.
the other salesman, after finishing in his part of town, followed
after the first as they had agreed. He ended up at the same house.
Again the poor little girl begged her grandmother to trade the
old plate for a bracelet. The woman saw that this was a nice tender
looking merchant and thought, "He's a good man, not like
the rough-talking first salesman." So she invited him in
and offered to trade the same black sooty old plate for one bracelet.
When he examined it, he too saw that it was pure gold under the
grime. He said to the old woman, "All my goods and all my
money together are not worth as much as this rich golden plate!"
the woman was shocked at this discovery, but now she knew that
he was indeed a good and honest fellow. So she said she would
be glad to accept whatever he could trade for it. The salesman
said, "I'll give you all my pots and pans and trinkets, plus
all my money, if you will let me keep just eight coins and my
balancing scale, with its cover to put the golden plate in."
They made the trade. He went down to the river, where he paid
the eight coins to the ferry man to take him across.
By then the
greedy salesman had returned, already adding up huge imaginary
profits in his head. When he met the little girl and her grandmother
again, he said he had changed his mind and was willing to offer
a few cents, but not one of his bracelets, for the useless black
sooty old plate. The old woman then calmly told him of the trade
she had just made with the honest salesman, and said, "Sir,
you lied to us."
salesman was not ashamed of his lies, but he was saddened as he
thought, "I've lost the golden plate that must be worth a
hundred thousand." So he asked the woman, "Which way
did he go?" She told him the direction. He left all his things
right there at her door and ran down to the river, thinking, "He
robbed me! He robbed me! He won't make a fool out of me!"
From the riverside
he saw the honest salesman still crossing over on the ferry boat.
He shouted to the ferry man, "Come back!" But the good
merchant told him to keep on going to the other side, and that's
what he did.
he could do nothing, the greedy salesman exploded with rage. He
jumped up and down, beating his chest. He became so filled with
hatred towards the honest man, who had won the golden plate, that
he made himself cough up blood. He had a heart attack and died
on the spot!
moral is: "Honesty
is the best policy."