There was an old man who lived with his wife on the edge of a town a long time ago and it was his custom to walk into the town each morning to have a coffee in the square. Now on this particular morning as he walked along the familiar path into the town he happened to glance down and noticed something glistening in front of him. He stooped down and picked up an old coin. The coin was not of the country he lived in and he thought perhaps it might be from the country that neighboured his. Anyway he picked it up and walked on.
Now as he was sitting down in the café and enjoying the warm sun, a stranger sat down beside him. He was in a hurry and having to leave the country quickly and was desperate for coins he could use at his destination in the neighbouring country. And he took the coin from our old man and in exchange gave him three silver coins. As luck would have it, a man at the next table had overhead this exchange and came over and said that he was a silversmith looking for silver to complete an urgent commission. And he would give the old man three gold pieces for those three silver pieces.
As you can imagine, after the delight and surprise of this, our old friend was even happier relaxing in the square. But, there was more adventure for him as you will not be surprised to know. Another man rushed into the café in a state of distress saying that he was desperate for wealth that he could put in his pocket – gold coins would be best. So much so that he would exchange his warehouse full of blankets if he could find just three gold coins. And as he was waving the deeds of the warehouse in front of him, our old friend got up,went with the stranger to just beyond the edge of the square to inspect the warehouse and found himself, before he knew it, the proud owner of an amazing new facility. And before he could even begin to contemplate what this new situation might mean for him, a king’s representative rode into town – proclaiming that the country was at war and the king needed to buy provisions for his soldiers and horses – including blankets. The old man spoke up and after inspecting the warehouse, the king’s soldier gave the old man two bags of gold in exchange.
It was time to go home and the man arose, placing the bags in his inside jacket pocket and walked happily back to his house. But he did not know that he was being followed – by a couple of ruffians that had seen everything that had happened that morning. And as he approached his house, with his wife waiting at the gate to greet him, these two scoundrels, jumped on him, threw him to the ground and took the gold. Luckily the old man was not seriously hurt and he stumbled up and to his wife. ‘How are you husband’ she asked with alarm ‘and what was it that those two men took from you?’ ‘Yes I am fine, my dear wife and those men – well they took nothing – just an old coin.’