The Wise Investor
which he traded for grain. Time passed, and it became
apparent that other people, too, had special skills of their
own, and particular products they liked to make. More
trading began, and soon there was an active and healthy
trade between the families. This trade benefited everyone
involved, although it soon became apparent that some people
were wiser in trade than others, and some seemed to
accumulate more grain over time than their neighbours.
As the trading of goods expanded, it soon became
obvious that there were other needs, as well. Some people
had need of items for short periods of time, such as a
borrowed plough while the their main plough was under
Many items were lent and borrowed. In return for
borrowing an item, the borrower would give the lender some
sacks of grain. The item would be returned, however the
lender would retain the grain as compensation for not having
use of the item. Soon, there was a thriving exchange of
items on loan, and a corresponding flow of grain in exchange
for the loan of the items.
Trade in ploughs, grain, cut wood and many other
products had been going on in the valley for some time,
along with lending of tools and machinery in return for fees.
The families found that they were all better off, as the
people who were best at each job were the ones who were
doing it for all. One year, however, a tragic accident
occurred. Three young men from one family were fishing in
the river, when a landslide crashed down the side of the
valley and killed all three. All the people the valley mourned
the tragic event. When the mourning was over, the family of
the boys was in serious trouble.
It was harvest time, and the youngest generation was not
quite old enough to complete the harvest by themselves.
Without the full harvest, the family would be critically short
of grain. Some families offered help, but it was their harvest
time as well and they could ill afford to spend the extra time
to help the grieving family.