Paying the right price

null

Illustration by Ken Crane

Nixivan had invited his friends to supper and was cooking a succulent piece of meat for them. Suddenly, he realised that he had run out of salt. So Nixivan called to his son.

‘Go to the village and buy some salt, but pay a fair price for it: neither too much nor too little.’

His son was surprised.

‘I can understand why I shouldn’t pay too much for it, Father, but if I can bargain them down, why not save a bit of money?’

‘That would be the sensible thing to do in a big city, but it could destroy a small village like ours.’
When Nixivan’s guests, who had overheard their conversation, wanted to know why they should not buy salt more cheaply if they could, Nixivan replied:

‘The only reason a man would sell salt more cheaply than usual would be because he was desperate for money. And anyone who took advantage of that situation would be showing a lack of respect for the sweat and struggle of the man who laboured to produce it.’

‘But such a small thing couldn’t possibly destroy a village.’

‘In the beginning, there was only a small amount of injustice abroad in the world, but everyone who came afterwards added their portion, always thinking that it was only very small and unimportant, and look where we have ended up today.’
 
in The Devil and Miss Prym