Jataka Tales

The Golden Plate

There were two hawkers. They used to sell bangles, bracelets and trinkets. They made an agreement among themselves. Each of them would go to different village so that they can have sort of monopoly over the market. In the evening they could go to any village they wished.

One day the first hawker was roaming in a village. There lived a small girl with her grandmother. They were very poor. The girl was insisting her grandmother to purchase a bracelet for her.

The grandmother had no money. She thought of exchanging and old pan for the bracelet. She asked the hawker to barter one bracelet for an old useless pan.

When the hawker was looking at the sooty pan he could see that it was made of pure gold. He tried to hide his reaction and said, “This is useless. I would not give a single trinket for this old pan”. In his mind he was thinking of returning later to make even better bargain.

When the first hawker left the village in the evening the second hawker happened to come in the same village. He also met the old woman and her granddaughter. When he was shown the pan he told the truth to the old lady. He said, “You can take all my wares for this pan”.

The lady was too happy. On being impressed by his honesty the lady allowed the hawker to take his box, to keep the pan; and some money, to pay the return fair.

When the first hawker came during night with his wicked plan, he could realize his folly, but it was too late.