The Intelligent Merchant
This is one of the best Indian folk tales for kids. Once upon a time, an unjust king ruled a kingdom. This king was not concerned with the welfare of his people but only of his personal gain. His council of ministers was as corrupt as the king. They agreed with the king and let him rule unjustly.
Now, in the same kingdom, lived a merchant. He disliked the king due to his unjust behavior and had gotten into trouble with the king due to open his mouth at the wrong time. Also, read A Price To Pay.
One day, during a discussion at the court the merchant stated, “If a man is intelligent, he can get under any circumstance.” They already disliked the merchant. So, he punished the merchant for his insolence and proud behavior by putting him and his family in a stable of horses. Furthermore, the king laid a condition that the merchant was not allowed to leave the premises for a month and he was to earn one thousand gold coins.
Now, the merchant had already planned what to do. So, he asked the king to let him take his weighing scale. The king allowed that. Once the merchant was inside the stables, he began weighing the horse’s manure. The men taking care of the stables thought the merchant had lost his mind.
Yet they inquired of his strange behavior. “I was put here by the king to see if you all have been feeding the horses properly. If the manure weighs less, that means the horse hasn’t been fed properly. Then I will report to the king about the horses whose manure weighed less and of their caretakers,” the merchant told them. Now, these men taking care of the horses had been illegally selling the food they had been getting for the horses.
So, they pleaded with the merchant and asked him not to tell the king about it. In return for this, the men paid the merchant and fed the horses properly. When a month had passed, the king called upon the merchant. Upon seeing the thousand gold coins, the king became enraged. This time the king sent the merchant to a riverfront and asked him to earn two thousand gold coins in a month. You may also like to read, The Unwanted Guests.
Again, he was allowed to take his weighing scale. This time, the intelligent merchant started weighing the water. Seeing the boatmen, taking passengers in their boats became surprised. “What are you doing?” some of them asked the merchant. “I am weighing the water. You see, the king has asked me to do so. After weighing water I will know which of you are taking more passengers than you’re allowed to. Then I will report that to the king.”
Now, all of the men were taking more passengers than they were allowed to. So, they asked the merchant not to report it to the king. And in return, they agreed to pay him some money. In this manner, the merchant made two thousand gold coins in no time!
When the month had passed, the king called the merchant. The merchant deposited two thousand gold coins in the treasury. This time, the king was forced to accept that the merchant had been right. He accepted that if a man was intelligent, he would get by under any circumstance. Also, read The Brilliant Negotiator.