The Tradesman

Kriloff’s Original Fables
” Come hither, Andrew, brat
Where hast thou got to ? Quicker, drat The lazy boy
Learn of thine uncle how good profit to enjoy,”
A Tradesman once behind his counter said. ” That piece of home-made cloth that hung like lead —Thou mindest how it long by me hath lain, For it was old, spoiled by the damp, and rotten

That very cloth for English off my hands I’ve gotten ! And, for the pain,
I pocketed, look there, a hundred rouble note : God’s bounty we may thank.” “Yes, uncle, all that’s well,” replied the nephew lank :
” But as to bounty, why, I doubt who’s gained a groat
Look at the note, you’ll find ’tis false, at any bank.”
Deceiving, be deceived ! In that there’s wonder none
And find it in the world may any one, That to look higher than a shop can claim
He’ll see that there things go the same : Of one and all in everything the aim
Is solely how to do each other,
That each more cunningly may cheat his brother.
[Notwithstanding the general application of this fable in
its moral, the choice of the example shows the kind of
morality which prevailed among the commercial classes ,6f the day. A good deal of it continues to exist among
them to the present time. In the smaller Russian shops,
they care more about making an immediate profit, than
securing future custom by strictly honest dealing; pur- chasers must still bargain, and often get articles for a
third of what is asked at first. Within the last thirty years things have greatly improved in this respect, and now in all the better establishments they fix a price and
keep to it]

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