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The Wise Investor

It was important that Kate understood this, as virtually all
investments operated on market principles. She seemed to
be following the things he said, so he decided to continue.
"The food market had been operating successfully for
several years, when a small group of people decided to set
up another market. This was to be a market for buying and
selling furniture, and was held once a week.
At first, few people attended, but with encouragement
and time it grew to be as large and active as the food
One day, an old man arrived at the market with a desk. It
was beautifully made, an expensive desk which he had
owned for many years.
The desk was made of the finest timber, inlaid with gold
leaf and polished to a warm glow. The man was sad to sell
the desk, but a large debt was due the following week and it
was the only thing of value he possessed.
At least, he reasoned, he would get a high price for the
desk and be able to pay off the debt and have money left
over for himself. The man set up the desk in a corner of the
market, and waited. Lunchtime came, and still he was
waiting. Mid-afternoon arrived, and the man reduced the
price a little. Many people stopped to admire the desk. They
all agreed that it was a beautiful desk, and that the price was
fair, but unfortunately none of them needed a desk at the
time. Evening came, and the desk had not been sold.
The man returned home with his desk, dejected. The
following week, he attended the market again.
His debt was now overdue, but he had no other
possessions to repay the debt and the bankers had no choice
but to wait for payment.
Again the desk was not sold.
Finally, several weeks later, a new buyer attended the
market. He was a wealthy man, and happened to be in need
of a new desk. The sale was made at the agreed price, and
the man was able to pay off his debt."
John stopped for a breath, and checked that Kate was