One day a man said to his wife: “My wife, we are getting very poor and I must go into business to earn some money.”
“That is a good idea,” replied his wife. “How much capital have you?”
“I have twenty-five centavos,” answered the man; “and I am going to buy rice and carry it to the mines, for I have heard that it brings a good price there.”
So he took his twenty-five centavos and bought a half-cavan of rice which he carried on his shoulder to the mine. Arriving there he told the people that he had rice for sale, and they asked eagerly how much he wanted for it.
“Why, have you forgotten the regular price of rice?” asked the man. “It is twenty-five centavos.”
They at once bought the rice, and the man was very glad because he would not have to carry it any longer. He put the money in his belt and asked if they would like to buy any more.
“Yes,” said they, “we will buy as many cavans as you will bring.”
When the man reached home his wife asked if he had been successful.
“Oh, my wife,” he answered, “it is a very good business. I could not take the rice off my shoulder before the people came to buy it.”
“Well, that is good,” said the wife; “we shall become very rich.”
The next morning the man bought a half-cavan of rice the same as before and carried it to the mine and when they asked how much it would be, he said:
“It is the same as before—twenty-five centavos.” He received the money and went home.
“How is the business today?” asked his wife.
“Oh, it is the same as before,” he said. “I could not take the rice off my shoulder before they came for it.”
And so he went on with his business for a year, each day buying a half-cavan of rice and selling it for the price he had paid for it. Then one day his wife said that they would balance accounts, and she spread a mat on the floor and sat down on one side of it, telling her husband to sit on the opposite side. When she asked him for the money he had made during the year, he asked:
“Why, give me the money you have received,” answered his wife; “and then we can see how much you have made.”
“Oh, here it is,” said the man, and he took the twenty-five centavos out of his belt and handed it to her.
“Is that all you have received this year?” cried his wife angrily. “Haven’t you said that rice brought a good price at the mines?”
“That is all,” he replied.
“How much did you pay for the rice?”
“How much did you receive for it?”
“Oh, my husband,” cried his wife, “how can you make any gain if you sell it for just what you paid for it.”
The man leaned his head against the wall and thought. Ever since then he has been called “Mansumandig,” a man who leans back and thinks.
Then the wife said, “Give me the twenty-five centavos, and I will try to make some money.” So he handed it to her, and she said, “Now you go to the field where the people are gathering hemp and buy twenty-five centavos worth for me, and I will weave it into cloth.”
When Mansumandig returned with the hemp she spread it in the sun, and as soon as it was dry she tied it into a long thread and put it on the loom to weave. Night and day she worked on her cloth, and when it was finished she had eight varas. This she sold for twelve and a half centavos a vara, and with this money she bought more hemp. She continued weaving and selling her cloth, and her work was so good that people were glad to buy from her.
At the end of a year she again spread the mat on the floor and took her place on one side of it, while her husband sat on the opposite side. Then she poured the money out of the blanket in which she kept it upon the mat. She held aside her capital, which was twenty-five centavos, and when she counted the remainder she found that she had three hundred pesos. Mansumandig was greatly ashamed when he remembered that he had not made cent, and he leaned his head against the wall and thought After a while the woman pitied him, so she gave him the money and told him to buy carabao.
He was able to buy ten carabao and with these he plowed his fields. By raising good crops they were able to live comfortably all the rest of their lives.
Mansumandig – Philippine Folk Tales