Wanted: Donkey, dazzling or dead!

Wanted: Donkey, dazzling or dead!


In a small village in south India, there lived a man called Kannan. He didn’t have much money. He eked out a living by making wooden toys. The people in the village didn’t buy too many toys. “If I can buy a donkey, I can transport the toys to the next village where a weekly fair is held. People from neighbouring villages come there. There will be brisk business and I can earn a little more money,” he thought. But the problem was that he couldn’t spare the money to buy a donkey. “I will save a small amount every month. When I have collected enough, I will buy a donkey,” he resolved.

 In order to do that, he had to work harder. He rose early. He worked from dawn to dusk, taking only a short break for lunch at midday. By the end of the day, he had quite a pile of toys. His dexterous hands would create images of gods and goddesses, ordinary people and animals. He enjoyed making play things such as tops, houses, merry-go-rounds, clowns, dancers, kings and queens, princes and princesses. At the end of the week, he put them in a large basket and took them to the fair. Most of the toys would be sold by the end of the day. He would return home, tired but happy that he had made a small profit. He never failed to save some of it for what he called his ‘Donkey Fund’.

After several weeks of very hard work and a lot of economising, he managed to gather two hundred rupees – the amount needed to buy a donkey. He went to a donkey seller and said he wanted to buy a donkey.  Now the donkey seller was an arrogant fellow. “Two hundred rupees and no bargaining!”

Kannan nodded. “Give me the money now. Come tomorrow and take your donkey,” he said in his harsh voice.

“All right,” agreed Kannan.

The next day, Kannan went to get the donkey. “Where is my donkey?” he asked.
“It died during the night,” said the donkey seller.

“Then return my two hundred rupees,” demanded Kannan.

“It’s not my fault the donkey died,” argued the donkey seller.

“In that case, I’ll take the dead donkey,” said Kannan.

“What use will a dead donkey be to you?” asked the donkey seller.

“That’s none of your business,” retorted Kannan.

The donkey seller gave Kannan the dead donkey.

After a few days, Kannan came to the donkey seller and gave him fifty rupees.

“What’s this for?” asked the puzzled donkey seller.

“It’s the profit I made on the dead donkey,” replied Kannan.

“How?” asked the donkey seller, more puzzled.

“I held a draw. I sold twenty-five tickets for ten rupees each, and got two hundred and fifty rupees. I got the donkey from you for two hundred rupees. The extra fifty rupees is yours,” explained Kannan.

“But the donkey was dead!” exclaimed the donkey seller.

“Yes, it was. But I didn’t mention that while selling the tickets.”

The donkey seller hung his head in shame. Very subtly, Kannan had let the donkey seller know that he had been aware of the deception all along. Also, though he had been cheated, he wouldn’t cheat the cheater.

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