The traveller's payment

There was a traveller who was very tired, so he stopped to eat the food that his wife had made for him. As he ate, he was offering gratitude to his wife. He was sitting at the foot of a particular tree. Adjacent to that tree, a man was cooking various items and selling them in a stall. Most delicious things he was preparing. People were coming and buying things from the stall. Then they would sit down nearby and eat them.

The traveller finished eating, and he wanted to resume his journey. But the vendor of the food stall came up to him and said, "Come, come and eat something."

The traveller said, "No, no, I have eaten. My wife made a most delicious meal."

The vendor said, "No, you come and eat something."

The traveller said, "I cannot just now, but on my way back, definitely I will eat something from your stall."

The vendor said, "Then you have to pay one quarter of the price."

The traveller said, "What do you mean? I have not eaten anything from your stall."

The vendor said, "No, you have smelled my food." Then the vendor asked some of his customers, "Tell me to which side the wind is blowing."

The customers said, "To the north."

"And where is he sitting?" asked the vendor.

They said, "He is sitting on the north side."

The vendor said, "The wind is blowing towards the north, and he is sitting there. Definitely he has smelled my food. Therefore he has to give me a quarter of the price. Otherwise, I will not let him go."

The traveller was perplexed. He said, "What kind of logic is this? All right, I promise, on my way back I will buy a very large quantity of food from your stall."

The vendor said, "No, that will not do. You may not come back. I do not trust you. You have to pay a quarter of the price now."

Finally a young man came forward. This young man was very wise. He said, "Wait!" Then he said to the vendor, "Come here." The young man took out a small coin and asked the traveller to hold it up. The traveller held up the coin, and the shadow of the coin fell on the vendor.

The young man asked the vendor, "Do you see the shadow of the coin?"

The vendor said, "Yes, but what does it mean?"

The young man said, "You say he has to pay you because the wind was blowing towards the north, and he enjoyed the smell of your food. Now he is holding the coin, and its shadow is falling on you. So he has paid for the privilege of smelling your food!"

The traveller was very pleased and went on his way.