Greed is an excessive desire for increased financial gain or social worth, such as prestige or power. It is an unfavorable trait that causes a behavioral conflict between self and social interests.
The Case of the Stolen Smell is a folktale from Peru in which a baker is so stingy that he wants to charge his neighbor just for smelling his baked goods. But when he takes his case to court, the wise judge teaches the greedy man a well-deserved lesson.
Subscribe to our Newsletter!
Receive selected content straight into your inbox.
This story displays what happens when someone tries to take advantage of others.
What is greed?
Greed is an excessive desire for increased financial gain or social worth, such as prestige or power. It is an unfavorable trait that causes a behavioral conflict between self and social interests. Greed is not a good trait a person should have, as it can lead to unwise decisions and actions.
‘The Case of the Stolen Smell’
The Case of the Stolen Smell starts in the faraway city of Lima, Peru, where a petty and greedy baker lives. He is so stingy that he can’t even share some old breadcrumbs with the birds. But beside his bakery lives a very kind man. He is always willing to give and share what he has with anyone in need.
The baker found out the poor neighbor enjoys the smell of his freshly baked cinnamon buns and sweet rolls from his bakery. So he eats his stale bread every morning, as the sweet smell covers the air. But it’s not suitable for the stingy baker, and he decides to charge the neighbor for it.
The baker gave this neighbor a bill totaling 10 gold coins for stealing the smell of his baked goods from the previous month. So the neighbor is shocked and can’t believe what he just heard. But the baker also added that paying him 10 gold coins would continue every month.
The story spreads
As the story of how the baker confronted his neighbor for the stolen smell spread around the city, people laughed about the concept of stolen smell. They even try to visit the bakery to see if it’s worth 10 gold coins just by simply the smell of it.
The baker goes to court
But as the days passed, the baker did not receive any payment from his neighbor. That is when he decided to take it to court. Fortunately, the judge appointed to his case was known for being fair and wise.
The wise judge explained that he needed to listen to both sides before judgment. So he ordered the neighbor and the baker to come to court the next day. He also instructed the neighbor to bring five gold coins with him. Hearing that made the baker grin, thinking he would receive those gold coins.
And the next day arrived; the neighbor and the greedy baker both made it to the crowded court. People gathered to witness the verdict in the case of the stolen smell. When the judge came, everyone fell into silence. He started by listening to the baker’s side and then his neighbor’s. And after knowing both sides, he paused for a moment to think. And soon, he declared his judgment.
The judge announced that the neighbor would be punished by law since stealing is a crime. The neighbor tried to oppose the judge’s decision, but the judge stopped him and told him to take out the five gold pieces he brought with him. After that, the judge ordered him to drop the coins from one hand to the other and do it 10 times. Confused looks were seen from the people and the baker.
The judge asked the baker if he heard the sound of the gold coins, and he smilingly answered: “Yes.” As he tried to reach for the gold coins, the judge stopped him, stating that he had already received fair payment from the sound of the gold coins. People in the courtroom laughed and were amazed by how the judge handled the case.
The moral of the story
In conclusion, the story wanted to teach everyone that taking advantage of others has never been good, especially for self-benefit. Being greedy can make a person take the wrong path and make unwise decisions in life. Instead, it would be best if people continued to be content and knew how to take full responsibility for their actions.
Greed can lead to a lack of empathy and understanding for others, and it can also lead to a lack of self-awareness and knowledge of one’s actions.
The Case of the Stolen Smell is a reminder that greed can lead to unwise decisions and actions and that being content and responsible for one’s efforts is essential. It is also a reminder that building relationships and connecting with others is far more important than money.