'A LONG-BOW STORY'
One day a bunniah,1 or banker, was walking along a country road when he overtook a farmer going in the same direction. Now the bunniah was very grasping, like most of his class, and was lamenting that he had had no chance of making any money that day; but at the sight of the man in front he brightened up wonder-fully.
' That is a piece of luck,' he said to himself. ' Let me see if this farmer is not good for something'; and he hastened his steps.
After they had bid one another good day very politely, the bunniah said to the farmer:
' I was just thinking how dull I felt, when I beheld you, but since we are going the same way, I shall find the road quite short in such agreeable company.'
' With all my heart,' replied the farmer ; ' but what shall we talk about ? A city man like you will not care to hear about cattle and crops.'
' Oh,' said the bunniah, ' I'll tell you what we will do. We will each tell the other the wildest tale we can imagine, and he who first throws doubt on the other's story shall pay him a hundred rupees.'
To this the farmer agreed, and begged the bunniah to begin, as he was the bigger man of the two; and privately he made up his mind that, however improbable it might be, nothing should induce him to hint that he
1 Grain merchant and banker, and generally a very greedy man.