Once upon a time . . . a peasant called Amin lost all his crops from
miserable little plot in a drought. He decided to seek his fortune in another
village, and off he went on his donkey. On credit, he obtained a dozen
hard-boiled eggs from a merchant for his journey.
Seven years later, Amin returned to his village. This time he was riding
fine black horse, followed by a servant on a camel laden with gold and silver
coins. Amin had become a rich man and the news of this soon spread through
village. Straight away, the merchant who had given him the dozen eggs on
credit knocked at Amin's door, asking for five hundred silver pieces in
payment of the old debt. Amin of course refused to pay such a large sum
the matter was taken before the judge.
On the day of the hearing, the merchant appeared in court at the appointed
time, but of Amin there was no sign. The judge waited impatiently for a
quarter of an hour, and was on the point of adjourning the hearing, when
dashed in, out of breath. At once, the merchant said, in defence of his
"I asked Amin for payment of five hundred silver coins, because twelve
chickens might have hatched from the eggs he bought from me on credit,
seven years ago. These chickens would have become hens and cockerels; more
eggs would have been laid, these too would have hatched, and so on. After
seven years, I might have had a great flock of fowls!"
"Of course," agreed the judge. "Perfectly right." And
turning to Amin with
a hostile air, he ordered: "What have you to say for yourself? And,
way, why are you late?" Amin did not turn a hair.
"I had a plate of boiled beans in the house and I planted them in the
garden to have a good crop next year!"
"Fool!" exclaimed the judge. "Since when do boiled beans
grow?" To which
Amin promptly retorted:
"And since when do boiled eggs hatch into chickens?"
He had won his case.