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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "The farmer and the money-lender"

The farmer and the money-lender

There was once a farmer who suffered much at the hands of a money- lender. Good harvests, or bad, the farmer was always poor, the money- lender rich. At the last, when he hadn't a farthing left, farmer went to the money-lender's house, and said, "You can't squeeze water from a stone, and as you have nothing to get by me now, you might tell me the secret of becoming rich."

"My friend," returned the money-lender, piously, "riches come from Ram —ask him."

"Thank you, I will!" replied the simple farmer; so he prepared three girdle-cakes to last him on the journey, and set out to find Ram.

First he met a Brahman, and to him he gave a cake, asking him to point out the road to Ram; but the Brahman only took the cake and went on his way without a word, Next the farmer met a Jogi or devotee, and to him he gave a cake, without receiving any help in return. At last, he came upon a poor man sitting under a tree, and finding out he was hungry, the kindly farmer gave him his last cake, and sitting down to rest beside him, entered into conversation.

"And where are you going?" asked the poor man, at length.

"Oh, I have a long journey before me, for I am going to find Ram!" replied the farmer. "I don't suppose you could tell me which way to go?"

"Perhaps I can," said the poor man, smiling, "for I am Ram! What do you want of me?"

Then the farmer told the whole story, and Ram, taking pity on him, gave him a conch shell, and showed him how to blow it in a particular way, saying, "Remember! whatever you wish for, you have only to blow the conch that way, and your wish will be fulfilled. Only have a care of that money-lender, for even magic is not proof against their wiles!"

The farmer went back to his village rejoicing. In fact the money-lender noticed his high spirits at once, and said to himself, "Some good fortune must have befallen the stupid fellow, to make him hold his head so jauntily." Therefore he went over to the simple farmer's house, and congratulated him on his good fortune, in such cunning words, pretending to have heard all about it, that before long the farmer found himself telling the whole story—all except the secret of blowing the conch, for, with all his simplicity, the farmer was not quite such a fool as to tell that.

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