The Old Man’s Verdict

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A long time ago, before the age of cars, trains, and planes, there lived two friends, Ramu and Somu. One day, the friends embarked upon a long journey. Ramu brought three rotis and Somu brought five rotis to eat on their trip.

As they reached half-way, the friends began to feel hungry. Looking for a place to stop for lunch, they came across a lake. As they settled down to eat by the bank of the river, they were approached by a fellow traveler.

“My dear boys, I am feeling very hungry, can you please give me something to eat?” the traveller requested.

The boys took pity on him and shared their rotis with him. The traveller thanked the boys for their generosity, gave them 8 annas and continued on his journey.

Counting the coins, Somu said, “Ramu, I will take 5 annas as I brought 5 rotis and you take 3 annas since you brought 3 rotis.”

Disagreeing with Somu, Ramu said, “No, we should share the money equally between us” he said. Somu didn’t agree with Ramu and both began quarrelling fiercely.

An old man who happened to pass by couldn’t help but notice the fight and stopped to see if could help. Ramu and Somu explained the reason for their argument to the old man.

“Boys, please listen to me. I will do justice to both of you” proposed the old man. Ramu and Somu agreed to listen to his suggestion.

“You three have shared 8 rotis equally among you, is it not?” asked the old man. The boys chorused “YES”.

“So, Somu’s 5 rotis became 15 equal pieces. Ramu’s 3 rotis became 9 equal pieces. Somu ate 8 out of his 15 pieces and gave 7 pieces to the traveller. So, Somu gets 7 annas. Ramu ate 8 out of his 9 pieces and gave 1 piece to the traveller. So Ramu gets 1 anna.” The old man thus delivered his verdict.

Ramu felt ashamed of his stupidity. “We should have shared the money equally” he regretted.

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