The Good Bargain


Faith of Our Fairy Tales #6 (Original story)

Story Scripture: Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. – Proverbs 14:29

Story Saying: Opportunity seldom rises with blood pressure. – Jarod Kintz

Behind the Story: In this story a peasant, whose name we are never told, does several things to make money. Unfortunately, he ends up losing all the money he makes because he does not make wise decisions and lets his temper get the best of him.

First, he sells a cow at the fair and earns seven talers. Talers are Germanic silver coins. On his way back home he hears some frogs in a pond calling “aik, aik, aik” because, well, they are frogs. The peasant mistakenly thinks the frogs are saying he has “eight, eight, eight” talers. He gets so angry, calls the frogs mean names and throws his seven talers into the water telling them to count the coins for themselves. Of course, the frogs can’t count and go on calling “aik, aik, aik.” The peasant ends up going home with nothing.

On his second venture, the peasant kills a cow and goes to the town to sell the cow’s meat. He comes upon a group of dogs barking “wow, wow, wow.” Again, the peasant mistakenly thinks that the dogs are barking “wow” to his pieces of cow meat, so he gives them the meat expecting them to take it to the butcher. Of course, the dogs do no such thing. They end up devouring the meat because, well, they are dogs. You can imagine the anger the peasant felt when he went to the butcher three days later to collect his money from the cow meat that he thought had been sold. Because the dogs had not sold the meat, the butcher did not know what the peasant was talking about and ended up beating him out with a broomstick.

Fortunately, for the peasant, this story has a good ending and finishes with him getting a good coat and good money in his pocket – something he concludes is a good bargain.

We should not live our lives like the peasant – thinking the whole world is against us because we make rash decisions, get angry before we get the facts and foolishly invest out time, money, etc. in incompetent hands. As our story staying suggests, we will not often find opportunity in negative situations when we let our tempers get the best of us.

The Bible has a lot to say about the matter, mostly referring to quick-tempered people as fools: Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions (Proverbs 18:2); Fools give full vent to their rage (Proverbs 29:11); Fools show their annoyance at once (Proverbs 12:6); A fool is reckless and careless (Proverbs 14:16); Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools (Ecclesiastes 7:9).

Amid misunderstanding and disagreement, chaos and confusion and unfairness, remember to keep calm. Because of God (our King) “there is still justice in the world.”


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