A prosperous money-lender or seth bought a house located right next door to the house of a tanner. From morning till evening the tanner converted hide into leather by treating it with tannin. From day one the money-lender was put off by the unpleasant smells of the tannery.

So, he visited the tanner’s house and offered to buy his house.

“I would love to sell the house if you buy it seth,” said the tanner. He had no intention of doing any such thing but he liked to play pranks. “Give me a week or so to wind up some things, will you?” The seth agreed and went away.

An Unpleasant Smell [Illustration by Shinod AP]
An Unpleasant Smell [Illustration by Shinod AP]

A week later, the overpowering smell coming from the tannery brought the seth to the tanner’s doorstep again. “I understand sir,” said the tanner with wide-eyed sympathy when the money-lender told him that the smell had reduced his appetite largely. “But my mother is visiting me this week. I can’t sell the house as long as she is around. Please wait for a month, until she goes away.”

The seth agreed with great reluctance. He began to wait with bated breath for the guest’s departure. In the beginning he counted each day, impatiently waiting for one to finish and the other to begin.
After a while though, he found he was no longer all that interested in the month coming to an end. And when the month did end, the seth did not go the tanner’s house to ask him to leave. He had simply forgotten about it.

He did not ask the tanner to leave when they met next, either. You see, by then the seth had become accustomed to the tan-yard’s smell. “What have you done to drive away that infernal smell?” he asked the tanner. “Have you diluted the solution?”

The tanner smiled and nodded. He had been waiting for the day the seth would get used to the smells from the tannery and stop bothering him. That was why he had asked the seth to wait in the first place.

350 words | 3 minutes
Readability: Grade 5 (10-11 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: folktales
Tags: #money, #smell, #money lender

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