A rich farmer had a field of ripe corn. He asked a poor man from the village to reap his field.
“How long must I reap?” asked the poor man.
“Until what lights the sky sets.” said the farmer and pointed up at the sky.
“And what will you pay me?”
“I’ll give you a small sack of flour if you work well.”
The poor man agreed and began to reap the rich man’s corn. He worked without rest. At noon he stopped and rested for a short time under the tree. He had only one slice of bread, which he ate. Then he went back to work.
When the sun set, the poor man said:
“That’s enough. Now I must get my flour.”
“How is that?” said the farmer. Half of the field is not reaped.”
“It is growing dark,” answered the poor man. “The sun is setting.”
“The sun is setting,” said the rich man, “but look at the sky! His sister, the moon, is now rising and it will give us light. You must reap until the moon sets too. Otherwise I will not give you any flour.”
The poor man could not answer this argument, so he went on his work. He worked hard all night long, while the rich farmer lay down under the tree and had a good sleep.
The workman reaped the field from end to end.
“Now I’ll give you the flour.” said the rich farmer. “Go home, bring your sack, and come to my mill. My flour is there.”
So the poor man went home and came a little later with a big sack.
“Pour in the flour!” he said.
The rich man opened his eyes wide and shouted:
“It’s the small sack’s big brother,” laughed the poor man.
“How can a small sack have a big brother?” said the farmer.
“Well, if the moon is the sun’s sister, a small sack can have a big brother, can’t it?”
This time the rich farmer couldn’t answer the poor man’s argument. So he had to fill the big sack with flour.
(A Bulgarian tale)
“Pay him back in his own coin.”
“Hunger breaks stone walls.”
“He laughs best who laughs last.”