Jataka Tales

The Price Maker

In the kingdom of Benares there used to be the post for price maker. His duty was to evaluate and fix fair price for everything.

There was a very honest price maker. But the king was not happy with him. The king always thought that he was buying at too high price and selling at too low price. So the king sacked the fair price maker and appointed another person who seemed to be a better sycophant.

This new price maker was very good at pleasing the king, but in the process he displeased everybody else.

One day a horse trader came to sell his 500 horses to the king. On being asked, the price maker fixed one bowl of rice as the price of 500 horses. The horse trader had no other way but to part with his horses for one bowl of rice. He was very sad and decided to go to the former price maker. The former price maker advised him to give some costly gift to the current price maker and request him to fix the price of a bowl of rice during next days gathering.

The horse trader followed the advice. Next day, when the courtiers were gathered in the royal palace, the horse trader asked the price maker to evaluate the bowl of rice. The price maker was under the influence of bribe. He said that the bowl of rice was worth the whole Benares kingdom.

All ministers and people were shocked to hear this. They started laughing. They asked from where on earth, did the king get that weird price maker. Now the king could see his folly. He was ashamed and said sorry to everyone. The king once again appointed the old price maker.