One Hundred or Two Hundred A Story About Greed

Once upon a time, there lived one merchant. And like all merchants, he bought goods from one place, and travelled to sell them in another.

From time to time, he would stop his caravan, and after resting a while, he would move on forward. But, once, after making few stops, he discovered that he had lost his purse, so he turned back to the last resting place. There, he met a man.

The stranger asked him: – Are you looking for something?

– Yes, I’ve lost my purse.

– And how much money was in it?

– One hundred gold coins.

The stranger was delighted: – Great, that means that the purse I found is your purse!

The merchant took the money, but decided to cheat and get as much as he can from the situation:

– No, I just remembered: there were two hundred tangas in my purse. Where is the rest of the money?

– But, that cannot be! – the stranger said. – I took no money.

Since they couldn’t agree, the men went to the king. They told him everything. The king asked the merchant:

– How many tangas, you say, were there in your purse?

– Two hundred.

– And how much was in that purse you found? – he now turned to the stranger.

– One hundred.

The king thought for a second and turned once again to the merchant:

– Well, apparently, that means that it wasn’t your purse. And if that’s the case, the one who found the hundred tanga, has the right to take all of them for himself.

The Lesson

  • The moral? Bargaining for someone else’s belongings may lead to losing your own.


  • Tales of the People of the World. T. VI, M., 1987.
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