Ahavat Israel Am Israel Torat Israel Eretz Israel Jewish Texts

Cunning Against Greed

Once there was a cunning man who came to his rich neighbor and asked him to lend him a silver spoon. The rich man gave it to him. A few days later, the borrower returned the spoon and with it a small spoon.

"What is that for?" the rich man asked. "I lent you only one spoon." "Your spoon," the borrower replied, "gave birth to this little spoon, so I have brought you back both mother and child, because both belong to you."

Although what the man said sounded foolish, the rich man, who was greedy, accepted both spoons.

A while later the cunning man again came to his rich neighbor and asked that he lend him a large silver goblet. The rich man did so. Several days later the borrower returned the goblet and with it a little goblet.

"Your goblet," he told him, "gave birth to this little goblet. I'm returning them because both belong to you."

After a while the cunning man paid a visit to his rich neighbor for the third time and said to him: "Would you mind lending me your gold watch?"

"With pleasure! " answered the rich neighbor, thinking to himself that it would be returned to him together with a small watch. So he gave him his watch which was set with diamonds.

One day passed, and another, and still another, but the borrower failed to show up with the watch. The rich man became impatient and went to the house of his neighbor to make inquiry.

"What about my watch?" he asked.

The cunning borrower heaved a deep sigh.

"I am sorry to tell you that your watch is nebich dead! I had to get rid of it." he said.

"Dead? What do you mean dead?" cried the rich man angrily. "How can a watch die?"

"If a spoon can bear little spoons," answered the cunning man, "and if a goblet can bear little goblets, why should it surprise you that a watch can die?"

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