September 26, 2006 by Joseph Krohn
The story is told about a Phoenician trader who came to late to the city’s gate to trade. He bounded on the door, but the watcher of the gate said that the gate had been closed for the evening and would not open until the morning watch.
The merchant sat down that evening fuming that he would miss the evening of buying and selling, but there was nothing he could do about it. As he sat there with his servants and his goods a shepherd came up to the gate and was also upset that he was too late to sell his sheep.
The Shepherd then tried to make a proposition with the Phoenician merchant. His wife was sick and he needed to sell the sheep so he could buy her the appropriate medicine (as we all know even today medicine does not come cheap). The price the shepherd named was more than fare but the merchant wanted to know the exact number of the sheep so he would not be cheated, but the night was so dark and the sheep were nervous that night being so close to the city and would not lay down to sleep.
So the merchant could not count sheep that night. So the shepherd anxious to buy his wife the medicine made another proposition, he would take two-thirds of the money now and would leave his servant there to count the sheep and receive the rest of the money in the morning. The merchant fearing he was still going to be cheated refused and insisted that they would wait to the morning light to finish their trade.
When the morning light came and the gates of the city were open the merchants inside saw the large flock of sheep that the Phoenician Merchant had only heard the night before. This city had only recently been under a siege so these merchants realizing the value of the much needed food paid the shepherd several times over of what the shepherd had asked the merchant for the night before.