Jataka Tales

The Mouse Merchant

There was an intelligent royal advisor. One day, on seeing a dead mouse in the street he said, “If somebody tries he can earn even from this dead mouse’.

These wise words fell in the ears of a local lad. He picked up the dead mouse to try making money from it. After going some blocks he found a merchant who was looking for a dead mouse for his pet cat. The boy earned two copper coins in the deal.

With those copper coins he purchased some puddings and sat on the roadside. He was waiting for flower sellers. He knew that they would be hungry since they start early in the morning. When the flower pickers came he bartered those puddings for some garlands. After selling those garlands he once again set the shop for sweet puddings. This became a routine for sometime.

This helped him to save some money. One day after a thunderstorm the royal garden became a mess. The boy offered the lazy gardener that he would clean the garden for free if he were allowed to take all the wood in lieu of that. The gardener happily agreed.

The boy sold firewood to the local potter who wanted them for his baking oven. He paid a heavy price because it was difficult to find wood after the storm.

With his savings he opened a small eatery. One day he heard that a horse dealer was coming to the city to sell his 500 horses. He made a plan to grab that opportunity. He gave a free treat to local grass mowers at his eatery. They were surprised. He requested them to sell their grass to him only. Once the horse trader came he could sell all grass at high profit.

After sometime elapsed he heard that a ship from some foreign country was coming for trade. He went to one of his friends who was a jeweler. He borrowed a ruby studded gold ring from him. He had definite information that the country, the ship was coming from, was not having gold or ruby. He went to meet the captain of the ship and gave him the gold ring as advance commission.

Later the captain would bring all the merchants to that guy and he in turn would take them to his friends’ shop. Thus he became a successful broker. He became a rich man.

He wanted to pay his obeisance to the man who taught him to start making money by a dead mouse. He went to meet the royal advisor and gifted him 100,000 gold coins. On being asked he told the whole story right from the dead mouse. The royal advisor was impressed by this young man. He married off his daughter to that young man.