A Persian merchant, facing an urgent journey to another city, was concerned about his wealth. To safeguard his money from potential thieves, he placed it in a bag and sought refuge in the trust of his best friend. Confident and hopeful, he arrived at his house, handing over the bag for safekeeping during his absence.
Gold, Deception, and Lessons
A Persian Tale of Friendship and Greed
Initially honored by the trust placed in him, the friend accepted and took on the responsibility of guarding the bag filled with gold coins. However, temptation soon eroded his morality. Alone, the sight of gold awakened insatiable greed in him. Driven by selfish desire and betraying his friend’s trust, he decided to claim the treasure for himself.
Time passed, and the merchant returned from his journey. With his hope still intact, he went to his friend’s house to reclaim his most precious possession. But when he requested the return of his bag, he was met with an implausible excuse.
The custodian friend, feigning concern, narrated an absurd story: a mouse had gnawed through the bag and carried away, coin by coin, all the gold. The merchant, inwardly aware of the tale’s falsehood, chose not to confront and left, pretending to believe the story. However, he was not willing to let the deceit pass.
Broken Trust and Wisdom
How the Persian Merchant Confronted Betrayal
With cunning, he devised a plan to teach his false friend a lesson. He kidnapped the latter’s son, knowing his value to him. Days later, he visited the thief, finding him plunged into despair over his son’s disappearance.
Hearing his friend’s anguish, the merchant responded with a fable as improbable as that of the thieving mouse: he had seen an eagle carrying the child away in its talons. The thief, confused and desperate, denied the possibility of such an event, to which the merchant calmly replied, highlighting the improbability of both stories.
The impact of the lesson was immediate.
The false friend, realizing his misdeeds and the wisdom of his punishment, hurried to return the gold coins to the merchant. In exchange, he regained his son, learning a valuable lesson about trust, honesty, and the consequences of greed.
Moral: “Do not entrust your money to anyone, not even your closest friends.”
This story reflects the importance of prudence and caution in matters of trust and wealth. It teaches us that sometimes, even the closest friends may succumb to temptation and that wisdom and cunning can be valuable tools in facing betrayal.