Tandulanali Jataka

Bodhisattva was once a King’s appraiser. He alone determined the cost of everything the palace bought, and sellers had no choice but to accept his prices. The king was greedy and did not appreciate that the Bodhisatta paid fair prices, so he replaced him. Since he sought like-mindedness rather than competence, the king chose a random peasant he saw walking by his window for the job. The man was a complete idiot and he chose prices for ythings based entirely on whims rather than their true value.

One time the foolish new appraiser decided that five hundred horses were worth only one measure of rice. The horse dealer was beside himself and asked the Bodhisatta what could be done. He told the man to offer the appraiser a bribe if he would agree to answer, in front of the king, the question, “If five hundred horses are worth one measure of rice, then what is the value of a measure of rice?” The appraiser accepted the seller’s money, and at his next audience with the king he said that one measure of rice is worth “all the city and its suburbs.” The assembled advisors broke out in laughter and applause, exclaiming how the king and the appraiser were so well suited for each other. Made to look like a fool, the king restored the job to the Bodhisatta.

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