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

The farmer and the money-lender

Nevertheless, the money-lender determined to have the conch by hook or by crook, and as he was villain enough not to stick at trifles, he waited for a favourable opportunity and stole the conch.

But, after nearly bursting himself with blowing the conch in every conceivable way, he was obliged to give up the secret as a bad job. However, being determined to succeed he went back to the farmer, and said, coolly, "Look here; I've got your conch, but I can't use it; you haven't got it, so it's clear you can't use it either. Business is at a stand-still unless we make a bargain. Now, I promise to give you back your conch, and never to interfere with your using it, on one condition, which is this,—whatever you get from it, I am to get double."

"Never!" cried the farmer; "that would be the old business all over again!"

"Not at all!" replied the wily money-lender; "you will have your share! Now, don't be a dog in the manger, for if you get all you want, what can it matter to you if I am rich or poor?"

At last, though it went sorely against the grain to be of any benefit to a money-lender, the farmer was forced to yield, and from that time, no matter what he gained by the power of the conch, the money-lender gained double. And the knowledge that this was so preyed upon the farmer's mind day and night, so that he had no satisfaction out of anything.

At last, there came a very dry season,—so dry that the farmer's crops withered for want of rain. Then he blew his conch, and wished for a well to water them, and lo! there was the well, but the money-lender had two!—two beautiful new wells! This was too much for any farmer to stand; and our friend brooded over it, and brooded over it, till at last a bright idea came into his head. He seized the conch, blew it loudly, and cried out, "Oh, Ram! I wish to be blind of one eye!" And so he, was, in a twinkling, but the money-lender of course was blind of both, and in trying to steer his way between the two new wells, he fell into one, and was drowned.

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