The bargain

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

Her greedy reputation spread. The number of suitors dwindled. She longed for more of the fine things they had 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 these things may be found.’

Her eyes lit up. ‘Take me there.’

They sailed over several months to a town in the tropics. Throughout the voyage the woman resisted the young merchant’s tender advances, her thoughts only of the riches she would find.

In the shacks of that place poor families toiled, growing, dyeing spinning and weaving. ‘You may have what you please,’ he told her, ‘for a fair price.’

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

‘I’ll show you in the morning.’

She woke the next day to find him gone.

A year passed before the merchant. 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.

(this is an edited version of the story A fair price, published on this day, 2010. See about small stories about love)


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