Continued from here.
Yehann asked who wants to put forth the first question.
An elderly man raised a hand and asked, "I am traveling to see a farm land for sale not an hour's ride from here. My friend says they can give us over 50% return each year".
Yehann replied, "What are you and your friend's expertise in the area? Once you have the farm, how certain are you that the costs of running it would be less than what you earn from it?"
The elderly man smiled with understanding. "Not much, my friend just heard from a distant relative of his. I shall need to learn the ways of farming first should I enter into this investment."
"That would be a wise thing to do indeed", said Yehann.
A genteel woman spoke up next. "Every time I return home from travel, it is customary that I bring with me exquisite gifts back to my husband and children. It brings them great joy, but I feel I can make use of the coins in better ways. Should I stop?"
"Seeing happiness in our loved ones is very important, but spending coins isn't the only way to give happiness. Can you start with spending half of what you customarily spend and save the rest? And then invite your family into the joy of seeing your savings grow each month."
Yehann continued, "There is great pleasure in seeing your purse grow fatter as time passes, and the increasing heaviness of that purse shall give you and your family peace of mind and a brighter future to dream of. After a while, they might find more happiness in saving than in spending for those exquisite goods."
The woman nodded contently.
For a good hour, Yehann shared all he learned from the esteemed society known as the richest people in Babylon. Many were surprised at how simple his answers were, and realized they had much of the knowledge all along, they were just not applying them until now.
Yehann beckoned for the last question.
"Why do you still travel when you can save all the coins instead?", asked a young man.
"This is a good question. Why not just save everything instead of going out and seeing other places?", Yehann replied affably. "Once you have the habit of spending less than you earn, your savings accumulate very quickly. This allows you to make investments with the hope of further increasing your earnings."
Yehann continued, "And the investment that gives you the highest return, is education. Traveling is how I educate myself of the world."
After the talk, the crowd was abuzz with excitement. Yehann spotted Baraz in front, once again assuming his frozen-thinking pose.
Yehann braced for the familiar voice that would surely be greeting him from behind any moment now... but it didn't come. Jasmin was nowhere to be found.
After a brief pause, Yehann headed out to the stables to check on his camels.
He found them reclining luxuriously in a shaded area. The fruity fragrance of fig trees wafting on a gentle afternoon breeze. They looked well rested and slightly stuffed.
The stables had a very tidy appearance and gave a lot of space for the animals. Yehann can see the stablemen conscientiously going about cleaning and tending to the other camels.
Yehann was pleased, they would be heading out soon and it's nice to see his camels well cared for.
On his way back to the main building, he passed Jasmin pleading with a very small man who was visibly agitated.
"I went all the way here for that photo-op, I demand that you pay me in full for the trouble.", complained the man in a loud, shrill voice.
"Please sir, allow me to compensate you a portion of the amount and a free night instead. We just won't be needing the photo-of anymore.", Jasmin appealed.
Yehann thought he can help. "Excuse me, but did you say photo-op?", Yehann said while kneeling down so as to look at the man eye-level.
Before Jasmin could explain, Yehann gave her a curt nod and addressed the man. "I have a friend who is about to embark on a voyage to the eastern islands. I think it would be nice to remember how he looks like, just in case..... you know. His name is Baraz, I would like to pay for that portrait if you would agree."
Yehann continued, "He is also very good at sitting very still. You shall not have any trouble in painting him. "
The tiny man gave Jasmin one last menacing look and ran to collect his accoutrements, as fast as his short legs can carry him.
"Thank you for that", Jasmin said once they were alone. "I initially wanted the photo-op with you to help us get more guests. But after hearing your talk, I realize those are the kinds of extravagance that I would be better off to delay."
Yehann smiled and nodded gently.
"Besides, after you've been talking to the guests, our dried mini-bar consumption is down, our reservations for the Salt Spa are down, and we got a lot of cancellations for our exquisite Camel Cruise Tour". Jasmin smirked. "I'm beginning to think twice whether we want you back here".
Both of them laughed.
"I shall be departing soon, but here's a small token of appreciation for organizing the small forum and taking good care of the camels." Yehann said as he gave a gold coin to Jasmin.
"This is very kind of you. We shall use this as the seed from which we shall grow our savings. It shall be a constant reminder.", said Jasmin gratefully. "But what shall we do with a portrait of your friend, Baraz?"
"You'll think of something", Yehann smiled as he bowed gently and prepared to leave.
The following day, the small man was intently working on a portrait by the stables. In front of him, a smiling Baraz sat very still on a rug surrounded by three camels contently lounging about.
In front of him, a sign read: "Welcome to the Sandy Springs Inn. The best stables in town. Travelers agree".
* This is a fictional story inspired by the book, The Richest Man in Babylon, by George S. Clason.