There was a learned Brahmin, who lived in the outskirts of a city, with his wife called Shandili. They were a happy couple but they were poor.
One morning, the Brahmin said to his wife, “Tomorrow is an auspicious day, there is a special festival. It will be a favourable time for alms. I shall visit the city, and I am sure to collect a lot of alms tomorrow to last us long.”
He continued, “At the same time, you must also invite a Brahmin, and provide him food and clothes. It is an auspicious day, and it will be a good deed.”
When the wife heard this, she said, “How come you say this? I cannot invite any Brahmin as we are already very poor. We have neither good food, nor good clothes. I cannot afford to invite any Brahmin!”
But the Brahmin explained, “Dear wife, even when we have a mouthful to eat, we must share half of it with someone in need.”
After much convincing, the Brahmani agreed, “I have some sesame seeds. I will clean and remove their husks, and cook a tasty dish for a Brahmin.”
The next morning, the Brahmin left for the city as planned. After he was gone, his wife cleaned the sesame seeds in warm water, and carefully removed their husks. She then put the sesame seeds outside in the sun to dry. Meanwhile, she started doing her household chores.
During this time, a dog came and dirtied the sesame seeds. The Brahmani saw it, and immediately shooed the dog away.
She thought, “Fate has undone my efforts. But these sesame seeds are all that I have. So, I will play a trick with the neighbour. I will offer to exchange these cleaned, un-husked sesame seeds with some husked sesame seeds. They will not suspect, and fall for the offer.”
She went to her neighbour and proposed an exchange. The lady of the house was overwhelmed. It takes a lot if time to clean and remove the husks of the sesame seed. She found the offer very attractive, and offered some more sesame seeds in return.
As they were in the middle of the exchange, the neighbour’s son came out. He said, “Mother! Who would exchange cleaned sesame seeds with unclean ones? There must be some reason that she offers such lucrative offer. Please do not accept the exchange.”
When the lady heard her son’s advice, she turned the offer down politely.
When Shandili realized that she had failed to play the trick on her neighbour, she returned home.