How Suan Became Rich – Elementary Level
Pedro and Suan were friends. Pedro’s parents were rich. When they died, they left Pedro a lot of money. Suan was one of the poorest men that ever lived. Early one morning Suan went to his friend. “Do you have a large post that you do not need.”
“Yes, I have one,” said Pedro. “Why? Do you need it?”
“Yes, I need one badly, to build my house.”
“Very well, take it,” said Pedro. “Do not worry about paying for it.”
Suan, who had not thought badly of his friend, took the post and built his house. When it was finished, his house was found to be larger than that of his friend. This made Pedro so jealous of Suan, that he went to him and asked for the post back.
“If I take it from its place, my house will fall down,” said Suan. “So let me pay you for it, or let me look for another post in the town and get it for you!”
“No,” said Pedro, “I must have my own post. I wish to use it.”
Suan knew that Pedro did not really need the post. “You gave it to me freely, and I will not give it back,” he said in an angry voice.
“Give it back, Suan,” said Pedro, “or I will take you before the king.”
“All right! Do as you please,” said Suan.
“Then we will go to see the king on Monday,” said Pedro.
“Very well. I will be ready,” answered Suan
When Monday came, they set off for the palace. Pedro took some money with him to buy food along the way. Suan, who had no money, took cooked rice and fish. When the time came for lunch, Suan opened his container of food and began to eat. There was nowhere for Pedro to buy any food, and Suan could see that he was also hungry.
“Would you like to have some of my rice and fish?” asked Suan kindly. Pedro thanked him and they ate lunch together.
After eating, the two started walking again. Soon they came to a river. The bridge over it was broken in one place, and one had to jump in order to get to the other side. Pedro jumped. Suan followed him, but fell into the water. It so happened that an old man was washing himself in the river below. Suan fell right on top of him. The old man was badly hurt and drowned. The old man’s son, Isidro, dearly loved his father. When he heard what had happened, he at once decided to take Suan before the king. So he joined the two travellers.
After a while the three came to a place where they saw Barbekin having a hard time getting his buffalo out of a mud hole. Suan asked the man if he needed some help. Suan was very strong. He took the buffalo by the tail and pulled as hard as he could. The buffalo was saved, but its tail came off because of the sudden pull of Suan. Barbekin was very angry about his buffalo losing its tail. He, too, decided to take Suan before the king.
When they came to the palace, the king said, “Why have you come here?”
Pedro spoke first. “I have come,” he said, “because Suan has one of my posts and will not give it back to me. I would ask that you order him to return it me.”
The king asked if this was true. “Yes, said Suan, but Pedro ate a part of my rice and fish on the way here.”
“My decision, then,” said the king, “is that Suan shall give Pedro back his post, and that Pedro shall give Suan back his rice and fish.”
Isidro was the next to speak. “I have come,” he said, “to ask you to punish Suan. While my father was washing in the river, Suan jumped on him and killed him.”
“Suan, then, must stand in the river,” said the king, “and you may jump on him.”
Then Barbekin was asked why he had come. “I have also come,” he said, “to ask you to punish Suan. He pulled my buffalo by the tail and broke it off.”
“Give Suan your buffalo, then,” said the king. “He shall not return it to you until he has made its tail grow back again.”
The four men thanked the king and left.
“Give me the buffalo now,” said Suan to Barbekin when they got back to the mud hole.
The buffalo was young and strong, and Barbekin hated to give it up. “Don’t take the buffalo,” he said, “and I will give you fifty pesos.”
“No. We must do as the king ordered,” said Suan. Barbekin then said that he would give ninety pesos, to which Suan agreed.
When they came to the bridge, Suan went down into the river, and told Isidro to jump on him. But Isidro was too scared to jump. The bridge was high, and he did not know how to swim. He was sure that he would drown. So he told Suan that he could get out of the water.
“No. We must do as the king ordered,” said Suan.
“Let me off from jumping on you, and I will give you five hundred pesos,” said Isidro.
Suan decided that this was fair, so he agreed it and let Isidro go.
As soon as Suan reached home, he took Pedro’s post from his house. He carried it Pedro’s house, bringing a sharp knife along as well. “Here is your post,” he said, as he pulled out the knife. “Now you must lie down, for I am going to get my rice and fish from you.”
Suan was much stronger than Pedro, so Pedro was very scared. “You can keep the post,” he said.
“No,” said Suan. “We must do as the king ordered.”
“I will die if you cut me,” said Pedro. “So let me pay you for it, or let me buy you some more rice and fish in the town!”
“No,” said Suan, “I must have my own rice and fish.”
“I will give you half of my riches,” said Pedro, “if you let me keep the rice and fish.”
“No!” said Suan, as he put the knife to Pedro’s stomach.
“Don’t cut me, and you shall have all my riches,” Pedro cried.
Suan became the richest man in town by being cleverer than the people who wanted to hurt him.