There once was a rich merchant in Bonga. He was so miserly that no
one likes him. He never paid his taxes, and he saved every paisa he
had. One day, he had to take his goods to another town to sell. But,
to reach the town he had to undertake a risky journey through the
forest. The forest was known for robbers and animals. "Hmm.... I
think I will need to hire a helper. What a nuisance!" he thought. He
decided he would pay only ten rupees to the helper, and he went to
the market looking for one.
The first man he asked refused. "I can't take such a big risk for
just ten rupees!" he said. The next person he asked demanded hundred
rupees. "It's not any easy job! You should pay accordingly," said
The merchant went from one man to the next, but no one was willing
to come for ten rupees. The merchant was disgusted. "The town is
full of wastrels! So money-minded! No one wants to do an honest
While the merchant pondered what to do, a man came to him. " I can
take you," he offered. It was Kaloo, the town simpleton, "I don't
mind working for ten rupees," he said. The merchant was doubtful.
"This man is a fool.
How can I hire him?" But he had no choice. It was either the
simpleton or a hundred-rupee expense.
"All right," he reluctantly agreed. Kaloo demanded his ten rupees in
advance, and the miser gave it to him. The two set off through the
forest in a cart with the goods. They hadn't gone very far when they
heard footsteps. "It must be robbers!" said kaloo. The hurriedly got
off and pulled the cart behind some trees.
Kaloo hid behind one bush, and the merchant behind another. They
waited anxiously as the robbers came closer. Suddenly, one of the
robbers tripped over Kaloo's leg. Dusting himself off, he said,
"Must have been a tree root!" The fool that he was, kaloo got angry
and said, "Does my leg look like a root to you?" The robbers
immediately dragged him out of the bush. "Hand over all your money!"
they said. kaloo handed over his ten rupees. "It's all I have," he
said. "You can take it if you like." The merchant trembled in his
The robbers looked at the note. "This looks like a fake note to me!"
said one of the robbers. Kaloo was indignant. "Of course not! It's
"How do we believe you?" asked the robbers. "Ask my master!" said
foolish kaloo. The merchant silently cursed the simpleton. The
robbers hunted around for the merchant. They soon found him behind
the bush and dragged him out. They took all his money, and soon
found his cart away. "This is all because I hired a fool!" he
lamented. The merchant returned home, depressed. "I should have
hired a better man instead of being miserly! Now instead of losing
just a hundred rupees, I've lost all my goods!"
A few days later, the gang of robbers was caught. All the stolen
goods were recovered, and returned to the rightful owners. A king's
messenger came and told the merchant that his goods had been found.
"Wonderful! When can I collect them?" asked the joyous merchant.
"Well, since you haven't paid your taxes in a long time, the king
decided to keep the goods as payment!" replied the messenger.
The miserly merchant finally learnt lesson.
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