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The Wise Investor

were swept a small distance downstream, and their
older brothers and sisters had to rescue their
frightened siblings.
The man who had spotted the children's
adventure sat deep in thought. All afternoon, he had
been discussing the difficulty of obtaining flour for
the family. Like others, his family had built a small
water wheel, but it was a difficult job and the grind-
stone was small. Suddenly, the man spoke. He
suggested, to the considerable surprise of the other
families, that there was a way to solve all their
The was, he said, a way to provide all the flour
the families needed, along with a new source of
income for trading. After encouragement from the
others present, he outlined his plan.
The idea was to dam off the entire river, high up
in the valley near their homes.
Beside the river, a large grinding mill would be
built, as large as a small house. This mill would have
enough capacity to grind the wheat of all the
families at the picnic.
In addition, other families could be charged a fee
for grinding their wheat, and a new source of
income would be had for all. The man's words were
greeted with howls of laughter.
Never before had a project this large been
attempted in the valley. It was a job requiring
dozens of people, and clearly the man's family did
not have enough grain or possessions to pay this
many people for their labour.
Then, when the laughing had died down, the man
outlined the critical ingredient of his plan. All the
families, he said, would contribute. They would all
contribute their own labour, along with grain and
goods which could be traded for the necessary
wood to build the mill.