There once lived a cunning and crafty man in a small village. He always used to make money through deceit. “Why should I work when I have the ability to deceive others!” he would think.
One day, the cunning man went to a foolish farmer and said, “I have a huge property that I am not able to take care of. I want to sell some of my lands. Would you like to buy it?” The farmer was in need of land, so he said, “Yes, but first I would like to see the land.” “Sure!” said the cunning man, and led the farmer to a huge field.
At one end of the field, there was a hut and a well. “The hut and well are also for sale,” said the cunning man. “But the well is the most expensive of all.”
The farmer was surprised and asked, “What is so special about this well?” “It’s called ‘silver well,” was the reply from the cunning man. “There is a lot of silver down there.”
Then he took the farmer to the well and pulled out a bucketful of silver, which he had arranged for beforehand. “See…” he said, “every time you pull out the bucket, you will get silver! That’s why this well is the most expensive.”
The farmer was thrilled! “If I buy this well, all my financial problems will be solved forever,” he thought. Then asked, “How much will it cost?” “The original price is 100 gold coins, but I shall reduce it 75, just for you, friend!” The foolish farmer felt it wasn’t a bad bargain and decided to buy the well. He went home to get the money. The cunning man followed him and waited outside his house.
The farmer’s wife was an intelligent woman, “I doubt this story of the silver well,” she said to the farmer. “Before giving away our entire savings, we must seek advice from some wise men of the village.”
The farmer agreed. He went to the cunning man and said politely, “Please give me a day’s time to arrange for the money. You can come tomorrow morning; I shall keep it ready.”
Feeling happy that the farmer was trapped, the cunning man went away. Then, the farmer went to a wise man and asked for his opinion. “Silver Well!” the wise man exclaimed. “Tomorrow when the man comes to your house, ask him to give it to you in writing that the silver well belongs to him and that he is selling it to you for 75 gold coins. If he refuses to write the receipt then tell him that will pay only 10 gold coins. If he is a genuine seller, he will give you the receipt. If he is a crook, he will agree to sell the well for 10 gold coins.” Taking the tips from the wise man, the farmer returned home.
The next morning when the cunning man arrived, the farmer said, “I am ready to buy the silver well, but you must write on a piece of paper that it belongs to you, that it produces silver, and that you are selling it to me for 75 gold coins.” Hearing this, the cunning man was alarmed! “Err…hhh…I am giving you my word, dear friend! Isn’t that enough?” he said. “All right, if you can’t give to me in waiting then I shall pay you only 10 gold coins. Will that be fine?” asked the farmer. “Oh….ah…why yes…sure!” said the cunning man, still happy that he will get at least 10 gold coins.
Now the farmer was sure that the man was trying to deceive him. He caught the cunning man and handed him over to the strong men of the village.
The cunning man got a sound thrashing and was chased out of the village. Never again did he dare to deceive anyone.