This is another nice story from the collection of Jataka Tales. Once upon a time, there lived a merchant of Seri, who sold brass and tin ware. He used to go from place to place, in order to sell his products. He was usually accompanied by another merchant, who also sold brass and tin ware. The second merchant was greedy. He wanted every thing for free and if he bought something, he paid as little as possible.
One day, when they went to a town, they divided the streets between
them so that none of them interferes in each others marketing.
Both of them moved through the streets they had chosen and called, Tin
ware for sale. Brass for sale. People came out of their homes and
traded with them.
There lived a poor old woman and her granddaughter in a house. Once the
family had been affluent, but now a golden plate was the only expensive
item left with them. The grandmother didnt know that it was a
golden plate. However, she had kept this plate because in the old days,
her husband used to eat from it. It was placed on a shelf among the
other pots and pans not in the regular use.
The greedy merchant passed this house, calling, Buy tin ware. Buy
brass utensils. The grand-daughter heard the cries and said to her
grandmother, Grandmother, please buy something for me. The
old woman replied, Child, we are too poor to buy anything. Even, I
dont have anything to trade. The girl said, We have
one old plate. Lets see what the merchant will offer for the old
plate. We dont use it often and perhaps, he will take it and give
us something that we want.
The old woman called the merchant at the door-step of her house. She
showed him the plate and said, Sir, will you take this plate and
give something in return to this little girl. The greedy man took
the plate and scratched its backside with a needle. He found that it was
a golden plate. He hoped that he would fetch it without paying anything.
He said, Does it worth? Not even a half penny. He went away
throwing the plate on the ground.
The other merchant was passing through the houses. It was decided that
either of them could go through any street, which the other had left.
The merchant passed through the same house and called, Buy tin
ware. Buy brass utensils. The little girl heard the cries and
asked her grandmother to see what the merchant would give for the plate.
The old woman said, My child, the merchant who came earlier, went
away throwing the plate on the ground. I have nothing else to offer in
trade. The girl replied, Grandma, that merchant was
bad-tempered. This merchant looks nice. Ask him, might be hell
give some small tin ware. The old woman accepted the idea and
asked the girl to call the merchant. The girl showed the plate to the
As soon as the merchant took the plate in his hands, he came to know
that it was of gold. He said, This plate cant be afforded
with what all I have here. This is a golden plate. I am not rich enough
to buy it. The grandmother replied, But, a merchant who came
here a few moments ago threw it on the ground saying that it was not
worth even a half penny and went away.
The merchant said, It was worth nothing to him. If you value it,
take the dishes you want to take. The little girl took some dishes
of her choice but the merchant was not satisfied with the offer. So, he
gave all the money and his wares to the old woman. He required eight
pennies for the transport, so he asked the old woman for it.
The old woman readily gave him the amount. The merchant took the
pennies and left the place. He quickly went towards the river and paid
eight pennies to the boatman, to take him across the river. Soon, the
greedy merchant went back to the house of the old woman. When he reached
the desired house, he called up the girl and said, Bring that
plate and I will give you something for it".
The grandmother replied from inside, No. You considered the plate
worthless, but another merchant has paid a huge price for it and taken
it away. It is a golden plate. Thus, the greedy merchant got angry
and left the place. He cried, Due to this other merchant, I have
lost a small fortune. That was a golden plate. He ran down to the
riverside and saw the other merchant in the boat. He called loudly, Hello,
Boatman. Stop your boat.
The merchant in the boat asked the boatman not to stop. Accordingly,
the boatman didnt stop. The merchant reached the city which was on
the other side of the river. He sold the golden plate and got enough
money for his living. So, he lived happily thereafter.
Moral: Honesty is the best policy.
The Merchant of Seri/ the Golden Plate is an interesting tale/ story from the collection of Jataka Kathaye/ Tales.