Chapter 4: Prologue Part 4
An old fable of Aesop is: A farmer is returning home with his donkey, and finds by the side of the road, perhaps the biggest diamond in existence, but the poor fellow has no idea that it is a diamond. He has heard the word, but he has never seen one. Still it is shining so beautifully in the sunrays, that he thinks, it is a beautiful stone and I have never given anything to my poor donkey. He will enjoy it very much. So he ties the stone around the neck of the donkey.
As they move on, a jeweler approaching on his horse is so shocked: he has never seen such a great diamond, and that too tied on a donkey’s neck. He stops his horse and asks the owner of the donkey, “How much will you take for it?” The farmer said, “It is a stone; perhaps one rupee will be enough.”
But greed is such, that the jeweler, knowing it is worth millions of rupees, says, “You are asking too much just for a stone. I will give you eight annas, half a rupee.” The farmer thought for a moment, and then he said, “Then let my donkey enjoy it. I am not selling it.”
As chance will have it, by great coincidence, another jeweler comes by in his chariot, and almost has a heart attack when he sees.. He asked the owner, “How much is the price?” Now the owner started becoming a little alert: The stone seems to be precious. He said, “Two rupees will do.” Just the poor man’s imagination; two rupees are too much.
The first jeweler has gone slowly, just a little bit, hoping that the farmer will think that eight annas, half a rupee, just for a stone is too much. He will agree, he just needs a little time.
But when he saw a chariot standing there, he rushed to the place and he asked the farmer, “Remember I was the first to inquire the price of the stone? I am ready to give you one rupee.” The other jeweler said, “I am ready to give him two rupees.” And there was a contest; the owner was simply listening. They were talking numbers that he could not understand.
Finally the farmer said, “Don’t unnecessarily waste your time; I have decided not to sell it. I don’t understand your numbers, but one thing is certain: I have to go to the marketplace and seek a few more opinions about the stone. The stone is not an ordinary stone, that much is certain, and I am very grateful to both of you.”
The first man said, “But you are foolish. We are ready to give lakhs of rupees.” The farmer laughed, and said to his donkey, “Have you listened? Who is foolish? I was selling it at one rupee, and I was not aware that it is something so precious. Then he said to the jeweler, “I am a poor man, you are a jeweler, you know exactly how much is the value, and still you did not agree to give me just one rupee. Who is foolish? I was ignorant of the fact that it has any value, but you were perfectly aware, and still you wanted to save half a rupee.”
They both tried. They said, “We will not conflict. We will purchase it together.” He said, “Now it is too late. I have become aware so I am going to the market, and I will ask all the jewelers. First, I will have to find out how much this stone is worth, and then I will think whether I want to sell it or let my donkey enjoy it.”