This is a tale of two brothers, who were merchants. It is also a cautionary tale about how business should, and should not be conducted. The two brothers lived in the ancient city of Surajkund, not far from where New Delhi now stands. They used to venture to the Surajkund Mela (Fair) to sell their dubious goods and wares. The elder brother, being an honest man, soon built up a reputation for straight dealing and fairplay. For these are qualities that are valued even among double dealers and thieves – perhaps more so, since they are in such short supply among them.The younger brother did not do so well, for he was secretive and deceitful in his ways.It is sad, but true, that the success of one is the cause of envy for another. Soon, the time came for a parting of ways among them. The elder brother decided to go among the poor to sell his wares, for they were simple folk like himself. Even though he had to toil hard to earn the confidence of his clientele, and the profits were meagre (for the poor do not have wealth to spare), the elder brother was sucessful in building up the trust that is essential for doing business. The younger brother, perhaps driven by the lure of quick money, planned to offload his dubious goods wherever he could. Many days passed…When he had not heard from his brother, the elder brother made discreet enquiries among his former acquaintances and friends. He was to hear a sorry tale. His brother, confident of success with his schemes, had been caught trying to sell stolen merchandise to some nobleman. And now languished in prison, in some forgotten cell, with others of his own kind. What is the moral of the story?
It tells us that honesty is the best policy, even when we are dealing with people who may be less honest than ourselves.