A fair price

The story is told of a nobleman’s daughter who demanded precious gifts from her many suitors.

Her mean reputation spread. The number of suitors dwindled. She longed for more of the fine things they brought.

A merchant visited with samples of silks of unimaginable beauty. ‘Do you have more?’ she asked.

‘For a fair price. I know a place where one can get as much as one desires.’

Her eyes lit up. ‘Will you take me there?’

They sailed to a town in the tropics—a journey of several months, during which she resisted the young merchant’s tender advances, her thoughts only of the riches they would find.

In the shacks of that place poor families toiled to grow, dye, spin and weave the finest silks. ‘You may have what you please,’ he told her, ‘for a fair price.’

‘I don’t know what that price is,’ she said.

‘I will show you.’

And the next morning, when she woke, he was gone.

A year later the merchant returned. The nobleman’s daughter was now wedded to a weaver, working long hours in return for the meager roof he provided. ‘Take me away,’ she pleaded.

‘For a fair price,’ the merchant replied.