Friday, March 27, 2009


A paddy*-buyer, purse in hand, Comes to a store, and to a stand. " I want to buy some rice," says he, " A sample of it let me see."
* Rice in the husk.

The paddy-seller is not slow
A little measiire-ful to show.
The buyer asks, " Have you no more ? "
The seller says, " This is the store :
Pagodas one or ten will buy
No other rice than now you spy."
The neighbour pays pagodas ten,
And says he 11 soon be here again.
And back he comes, with bullock strong, To fetch his purchase before long, And, like a man of means and mirth, Demands his ten pagodas worth. The dealer brings the measure small, And says, " Pour out, and take it all." " This all for ten pagodas ! " cries The purchaser. The cheat replies, " For one or ten, I said before, This is the rice, and there s no more. Agreeing, ten you chose to pay, So take your bargain, and away."
The jest no joke the good man feels, And to the judge the trick reveals, To whom the storekeeper is bold To say he s done as he was told. Raman ordains, " A month must glide, Ere I this matter can decide. Be it till then your equal doom Your meals to eat in the same room. You, plaintiff, the boil d grain receive, And just a half to this man give."

Then privately he shows his plan : " You take a bellyful, my man ; And break a grain of rice in two, And give him half of it to chew."
Two meals of half a grain suffice The hungry seller of the rice So far that loudly he complains, And access to the judge obtains. Raman the other calls, and, " Why," He asks, " your mess-mate s food deny ? " Says he, " I duly dealt the meat, One half the grain : he would not eat." The storekeeper begins to explain, " He pinches off just half one grain, And tells me all my dinner s there : How can I live upon such fare ? " The buyer, " Tit for tat," replies ; " He in a basket show d some rice ; Whatever price you pay, said he, * This is the article you see ; I ten pagodas paid ; behold, T was but the sample that he sold ! So I the letter keep, and deal With him by contract at each meal."
The judge now to the culprit turns, Who with long face his sentence learns. " According to the country-price, His ten pagodas worth of rice Supply to him, or be agreed A month on his half-rice to feed."

Consenting, as compell d by law, The seller verifies the saw, " By meanness meanness is made void, And trick by counter-trick destroy d."


Edward Jewitt Robinson