Children ride free

A father, mother and two children went to the market to do some shopping. When their shopping was over, the whole family was coming back home. It was a distance of four miles. Because the children had walked to the market with their parents, now they had become a little bit tired. The father saw that a horse-drawn carriage was returning from the market. It had brought some people there and they were now engaged in shopping, so it was coming back empty.

The father hailed the carriage and asked, “How much will you charge to take us home?”

The carriage driver said, “For you one rupee, for your wife one rupee, but children can ride free of charge.”

Immediately the father said to his children, “Jump into the carriage. You can ride for free. Your mother and I can walk.”

The carriage driver said, “What? It was understood that all of you would ride home with me!”

The father said, “No, you did not say that if all of us went, the children would ride free. You simply said that children are free, whereas my wife and I are supposed to pay. So we do not have to pay.”

Now confusion arose. The carriage driver did not want to take the children free of charge and the father did not want to pay. What is more, the children did not want to descend from the carriage. The father said, “If you agree, we can strike a compromise. Instead of paying one rupee each, I will pay you a quarter and my wife will pay you a quarter. Between us, my wife and I will give you half a rupee, and our children will ride for free. If you agree to this compromise, then we shall use your services.”

The carriage driver said to himself, “I am dealing with rogues, but I want to prove that I am superior to them. It is better to have something than nothing. If I do not take them, if I go home without any passengers, then I will get nothing. The best thing is to take these two rogues. At least now I am getting half a rupee.” So he took the husband and wife plus their two children home from the market.

From:Sri Chinmoy,Life’s bleeding tears and flying smiles, part 6, Agni Press, 2001
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