Gateway to the Classics: Indian Fables by Ramaswami Raju
Indian Fables by  Ramaswami Raju

The Tradesman and the Honest Servant

A tradesman in the East, who had not many customers, had a servant who was remarkable for speaking the truth. One day a gentleman came to the shop, and, finding everything in excellent order, said, "How well you arrange your things!"

"That is because we have not much business, sir—seldom any customers," said the servant.

The gentleman, who was struck by this remark, then asked for the quality of each of the various articles in the shop, and had a correct description from the honest servant. He bought a few things he wanted, and left the place.

The tradesman sent for the servant, and said, "You don't know how to get on in the world. You go and tell the gentleman we seldom have any customers. I can't hope to prosper with you. Leave me at once!"

The servant left the shop, and was engaged that very day by the owner of the opposite shop, who was in need of a servant. The next day the gentleman again called at the first shop, and said to the tradesman, "My friend, I have got a very large order to give, and to-morrow a great many of my friends intend buying here. Where is your honest servant? Unless he points out the articles I shan't be satisfied."

The tradesman was very sorry he had sent away the servant; but the gentleman soon found out he was in the opposite shop, and went there to make his purchases.

"Alas!" said the disconsolate tradesman, "what a lesson! We ever profit by truth; but if ever we seem to lose, it is but the earnest of greater gain."

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