Once upon a time there lived a prince who was both rich and haughty. There were very few people whom he liked. As for farmers, he did not even consider them human. He ordered his helpers to drive away any farmer who came near the palace.

One day, two farmers got together and started talking about the conceited prince.

``I saw the prince from quite close in the street,’’ said one.

``I looked over the fence yesterday and saw the prince having his meal in the balcony,’’ said the other.

Just then a third farmer, the poorest of the lot, came up and laughed when he heard them.

``pooh, that’s nothing,’’ he said, ``anyone could peek over the fence. If I so wish, I can dine with the prince!

``you! Dine with him!’’ laughed the other two farmers. ``the moment he sees you, he will you driven out! He won’t even let near the palace!’’

The two farmers began jeering at the third farmer and calling him names.

``you re a liar and a braggart!’’ they cried.

``I am not!’’

``well, if you dine with the prince, we will give you four sacks o wheat and two bullocks, but if you do not you will do everything we tell you to do.’’

``done,’’ the third farmer replied.

The farmer walked into the prince’s courtyard. When the palace helpers saw the farmer, they ran to drive him out.

``wait!’’ said he farmer. ``I have good news for the prince.’’

``what is that good news?’’

``That I will tell no one but the prince.’’

So the helpers went inside the palace and told the prince what the farmer had said, the prince was curious to hear the news brought by the farmer.

``bring the farmer in,’’ the prince ordered his helpers.

The helpers led the farmer before the price.

``what news do you bring?’’ asked the prince.

The farmer glanced at the helpers. ``I would like to talk to you in private, my Lord,’’ he said.

The prince grew even more curious. What could the farmer have to tell him? He ordered his helpers to leave.

As soon as they were alone, the farmer whispered, tell me, Gracious Lord, what would a piece of gold as big as a horse’s head cost?’’

``why do you want to know that?’’ asked he price.

``I have my reasons.’’

The prince’s eyes gleamed and his hands began to shake.

`He must have found a piece of gold as large as a horse’s head,’ the prince thought. ``why else would he want to know the prince?

`Tell me, my good man,’’ he said, ``why do you want to know such a thing?’’

The farmer only sighed. ``if you don not want to give me the answer, I can not force you. Now I must be going. My dinner is waiting for me’’.

The prince forgot all about his pride. It was greed that now gripped him.

` I will outwit this farmer,’ thought he, `and get that gold.’

``look here, my good man,’’ he said, ``why should you hurry hoe? You can have dinner with me if you are hungry. Come, make haste, set the table, and don’t forget the wine,’’ the prince told his helpers.

At once the table was set and food and wine were served.

``Eat and drink your fill. Don’t stand on ceremony!’’ the prince said cheerfully to the farmer.

The poor farmer did not need telling twice. E ate and drank heartily, while the prince kept heaping his plate and refilling his glass.

When the farmer had eaten till he could eat no more, the prince said, ``now go quickly and bring me your piece of gold. I know how to sell it better than you do. And I will give you twenty Rupees in reward.’’

``why not? Why did you want to know its price then?

``just out of curious,’’ smiled the farmer.

The prince flew into a rage. He went purple in the face and stamped his feet.

``get out, you fool!’’ he cried.

``I am not the fool that you think I am, prince,’’ the farmer said.

``I had my bit fun at your expense. I hope you have learnt a lesson in politeness. I have won my wager of four sacks of wheat and two bullocks in the bargain. It takes brains to do that!’’

 

 


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