PRECIOUS JEWELS UNDER THE SADDLE
Once upon a time, a merchant on a casual jaunt through a market, came across a fine specimen of a camel for sale.
The merchant and the camel seller, both skilled negotiators, struck a hard bargain.
The camel seller pleased with his skill of worming out what he felt was a very good price, parted with his camel and the merchant chuffed that he had struck a fantastic bargain, proudly walked home with the latest addition to his large livestock.
On arriving home, the merchant called to his servant to come and help him take out the camel’s saddle. The unwieldy heavily padded saddle being too difficult for the servant to manage on his own.
Hidden under the saddle, the servant found a small velvet pouch which on opening he discovered to be filled with precious jewels!!
The servant was overexcited!
“Master you bought a camel… but see what came FREE along with it!”
The merchant was astonished as he looked at the jewels in his servant’s palm. They were of extraordinary quality sparkling and twinkling in the sunlight.
“I bought the camel” he said, “not the jewels. I must return them to the camel seller immediately.”
The servant was aghast. His master was really foolish. “Master, no one will know.”
But the merchant headed right back to the market and handed over the velvet pouch back to the camel seller.
The camel seller was very happy, “I had forgotten that I hid these jewels in the saddle for safe keeping.”
“Here, choose one of the jewels for yourself, as a reward.”
The merchant said “I paid a fair price for the camel and the camel only, so NO thank you, I do not need any reward.”
But as much as the merchant refused, the camel seller insisted.
Finally the merchant said, sheepishly smiling, “Actually when I decided to bring the pouch back to you, I already took two of the most precious jewels and kept them for myself.”
At this confession the camel seller was a bit flabbergasted and quickly emptied the pouch to count the jewels. However he was very confused. “All my jewels are here. What jewels did you keep? The two most precious” asked the camel seller.
“My INTEGRITY and my SELF-RESPECT.” the merchant explained.