Paying the right price

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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

Comments

  1. Marie-Christine says:

    Une amie m’a envoye un texte sur la femme.
    ‘Elle a un defaut.
    C’est qu’elle oublie combien elle vaut,.
    Alors a toutes les femmes , quelle merveilleuse creature vous etes.
    Et pour les hommes – parfois ils ont besoin que quelqu’un le leur rappelle.’
    A une epoque je valais 20 dollars
    A mes yeux maintenant je vaux de l’or.
    Avec amour
    Marie-Christine

  2. Natalie Dee says:

    A very clever story that emphasises the importance of the knock-on effect of our actions at a macro level, in other words, on the wider community and therefore the world at large.

  3. Dan says:

    Awesome. It reminds me of a conversational hypnosis story. In fact, you could use that in a self-help audio – as mini story, within a story. Geat read. Thanks :)

  4. Le Mystique says:

    A beautiful story. Thanks for sharing. Where I live its common to sell things without informing the buyer about its defects. This is something that I detest immensely.

  5. Ken Crane says:

    Here is the translation in Japanese, I posted on my blog:

    http://kencrane.weebly.com/2/post/2011/09/5.html

  6. Floral says:

    awww..a very good lesson which we can learn! Thanks for sharing.

  7. rosa says:

    LO que mas me gusto leer;Sobre el rio piedras me sente y llore, todos sus libros me gustan todavia no termine de leer Aleph pero todos son exelentes mi admiracion SR.COHELO

  8. sam says:

    I still remember when my mom needed some money and she had to sell my bed for getting some money to one of our neighbors… it really hurts me… but my mom told me she was buying it back…. even though when my mother had the money back and wanted to buy my bed again…. our neighbor said “No” “Some people pay nothing for something others pay a lot”

  9. Maha says:

    I couldn’t get it

  10. Maria says:

    Mto bom. Lembrei de uma reportagem q passou recentemente, sobre bazares de caridade.
    Os organizadores antes distribuiam gratuitamente as doações mas esse ano resolveram cobrar um valor simbolico, 1 ou 2 reais de cada peça. A explicação do organanizador foi q qdo as peças eram distribuidas gratuitamente, as pessoas pegavam qq coisa, ate coisas q nao precisavam, e logo descartavam. Ao cobrar um valor simbolico, sanou o problema, e tbem devolveu aos q compram o prazer de comprar, de adquirir algo.
    Interessante ne.
    Receber algo totalmente gratuito e uma arte, algumas vezes mais dificil q dar.

    Deus te ilumine Guerreiro

    S2

  11. Vamsi says:

    Read The Devil and Miss Prym just couple of weeks back. Liked it a lot. We seldom realize the good and bad parts within ourselves, the devil and the angel within ourselves. I really liked the concluding story that says we have traces of both good and bad within us.. it is our choice what we promote.

    Thanks for your stories, Paulo!

  12. fenice says:

    bellissima storia davvero da tenere sempre presente!

    thank you

  13. sri says:

    A very very good story. Thanks.Wish you good health and happines.God bless you.

  14. Empie says:

    Este tiempo perdí la capacidad para conocer el valor de las cosas, hubo desajustes, dar por menos, tomar por menos, no valorar lo que me daban, no valorar lo que daba, como he dicho hubo desajustes. De pequeño me enseñaron que las cosas son de una manera y nada más, lo que está bien está bien y lo que está mal, mal (no me refiero a convencionalismos sociales), últimamente en la televisión, los ladrones y vividores son los que triunfan, lo que juzgan a los demás, lo que está mal no lo está si me favorece; todo cambió y la mala gente aprovecho para subirse a los puestos mas altos que puedieron conseguir, todo valía. Se me olvido el jucio y el rigor, dejé la puerta abierta a la calamidad. Todavía no estoy establecido totalmente en mi centro, pero espero que no vuelva a ocurrir, me vigilaré.

  15. siofa says:

    I so agree. They say haggling at markets etc is good fun. But I could never see the sense of giving people who live on the bread line,a less than decent price for their goods. Those that have should not take advantage of those who have not. That is exploitation. The strong should support the weak . . . that is the real spirit of a big hearted community. Paulo helps those in need in his own country. He shares his wisdom with one and all and does not charge outrageous money to hold seminars etc, as many ‘spiritual’ people do.

  16. the spice girl :) says:

    just passin through and sending my warmest regard to my fovarite “Sergeant Pepper’:)
    have a nice day
    don’t work too hard
    with love

  17. SONIA MARIA DURANT says:

    PARA TI, LO MEJOR ; PORQUE YO MEREZCO LO MEJOR .
    PARA TI LO JUSTO ; PORQUE YO MEREZCO LO JUSTO.
    PARA TI LA FORTUNA; ,PORQUE SUPISTE ABRIR LA PUERTA; Y NO LA DERRIBASTE, Y A SI , PERMITISTE TAMBIEN MI PASO.
    SIN NECESIDAD DE APROVECHARNOS , ESTAMOS EN PAZ Y ARMONIA!!

    BENDICIONES PARA USTED, SR. COELHO

  18. Leandro says:

    Não pode existir uma pequena ou grande injustiça.
    O que existe é injustiça e ponto final.
    Por trás da injustiça está o efeito cascata,que vira uma bola de neve,uma ” pequena ” injustiça acaba gerando uma ” grande ” injustiça,e no fim das contas para se fazer justiça, alguém é escolhido como bode expiatório.Isso é inevitável.

    “Se ages contra a justiça e eu te deixo agir, então a injustiça é minha. ”
    ( Mahatma Gandhi )

    “Mesmo os que a cometem odeiam a injustiça.”
    ( Publílio Siro )

    “Anima-te por teres de suportar as injustiças; a verdadeira desgraça consiste em cometê-las.”
    ( Pitágoras )

  19. MARGARITA CONTRERAS says:

    EN LA VIDA SIEMPRE TENDREMOS LA OPRTUNIDAD DE SACAR VENTAJA DEL QUE ESTA DESESPERADO LO TRISTE DE ESTO ES QUE NO NOS ACORDAMOS QUE EL COSMO O UNIVERSO NOS LO COBRARA Y MUCHO MAS CARO Y COMO SIEMPRE NO RECORDAREMOS QUE EN ALGUN MOMENTO JUGAMOS SUCIO ;TODO LO QUE NOS SUCEDE ES DE NUESTRA ENTERA RESPONSABILIDAD

  20. Good reminder. Respect for others does not allow immediacy humiliating … reminds me of the season of “low prices” and the “pirates”, as so common in all markets. Thanks.

  21. Dhara Javeri Kapadia says:

    wish every person in this world would think the same way…..

  22. TARTARIN LAURE says:

    hasard, encore un, je peinds une lutteuse de temps qui veut renverser la sablier….merveilleuse image que voilà…

  23. David says:

    I always bargain down because I know they’re charging me tourist prices.

  24. Diane Wolf-Latham says:

    totally my thought process…I now live in a third world country and it is so very easy to pay less than a fair price…and I see so many doing this…it makes me sad…so right on for where I am at…I also know I some days pay well over a fair price…lol…this is of course because I am so new here and am figuring out fair or no fair…lol..once again the story for the day meets me where I am walking in my journey…i agree with the wisdom of the story…good one!

  25. Chrisnarita says:

    a smile we get from the person we help worth more than the value of money. Not taking advantage of others disadvantage because every will have their disadvantage moment in the life.

  26. George h lee says:

    If there are more givers than takers, this would be a wonderful place to be.

  27. I beleive if you pratice the goodness you will receive it too, maybe not today, maybe not from the person you have giving your love and your attention and help, but from someone else and in other ways ! Sharing is a value people forgot or nearly are forgeting, there is HOPE and maybe the coming generations will make the difference. I have love all PAULO COELHOS books and read in Portuguese and some in English and learnet always from him! Thank you Paulo, o meu muito obrigado pela PARTILHA das suas experiencias e seu conhecimento de Vida.

  28. Tessa Woollett says:

    Nice one!
    Stories have a wonderful way of touching people and coneying messages.
    Many drops make an ocean!

  29. Emma says:

    “One day a terrible fire broke out in a forest – a huge woodlands was suddenly engulfed by a raging
    wild fire. Frightened, all the animals fled their homes and ran out of the forest. As they came to the
    edge of a stream they stopped to watch the fire and they were feeling very discouraged and
    powerless. They were all bemoaning the destruction of their homes. Every one of them thought
    there was nothing they could do about the fire, except for one little hummingbird.
    This particular hummingbird decided it would do something. It swooped into the stream and picked
    up a few drops of water and went into the forest and put them on the fire. Then it went back to the
    stream and did it again, and it kept going back, again and again and again. All the other animals
    watched in disbelief; some tried to discourage the hummingbird with comments like, “Don’t bother,
    it is too much, you are too little, your wings will burn, your beak is too tiny, it’s only a drop, you
    can’t put out this fire.”
    And as the animals stood around disparaging the little bird’s efforts, the bird noticed how hopeless
    and forlorn they looked. Then one of the animals shouted out and challenged the hummingbird in a
    mocking voice, “What do you think you are doing?” And the hummingbird, without wasting time or
    losing a beat, looked back and said, “I am doing what I can.” I dont know who wrote this…The salt story reminded me of it.

  30. Annemieke says:

    Thank you for writing down this live making and live comforting principle. Little things make a big difference.

  31. Pilar says:

    A veces llega el tiempo en que es necesario vender más barato,humildemente, lo ganado con sudor. Espero el tiempo del respeto hacia aquel que vende lo ganado con esfuerzo.

  32. Muhammad Ammar says:

    Whatever Paulo’s Script I read, I found Islamic teaching in it.. That proves many religions have the same spirit..

  33. Daphne says:

    This reminds me of how people view polluting the environment ~ once in a pretty harbour with an ex-partner he was pumping the bilge, when I said it was really wrong to do that! His reply was that it was only a little bit of oil! And the little bit of litter and the little bit of chewing gum ~ would like for people with this attitude to be sat amongst all the little bits and to realise that is just what they created, and then to show them all the other little bitters!!

  34. I was thinking about this story since yesterday.
    Try to be fair (like fair trade, etc.), giving and receiving, sharing, ethics.
    Thankful that Nixivan was able to talk with his father.

    Love to All, Thankyou
    Jane

  35. responsabili? Si se se non ci sentiamo intimamente uniti con il tutto