“One cowrie shell!” “That won’t buy anything. I can’t even measure that much.”
One day he passed by a stall in the market where the seeds of many different plants were sold. He looked along the stall and caught sight of a basket full of lettuce seed.
Makato paid the woman his one cowrie shell. Then he put his finger into his mouth and dipped it into a pile of seeds. When he pulled his wet finger out, it was covered with seeds. He carefully scraped them off his finger into the palm of his hand and went away happily, clutching the seeds.
“Oh yes, my boy. How much do you want?”
“Well, why not?” “All right, boy. Help yourself.”
“I’ll dip my finger into a pile of seeds; then I’ll take the seeds that stick to it—that must be about right for one cowrie shell.”
“Can I buy some lettuce seed?”
''I have one cowrie shell''
Now that he had seeds, Makato broke the soil and sowed them at once. He watered the seed bed every day and soon the young plants appeared. Day by day he cleared more ground and planted more lettuce seedlings until the kitchen garden was covered with them. He was very proud of himself because he had done so well.
“I wish I could give the king some of my fine lettuce,”
One day the king passed by the elephant sheds again. Makato waited his opportunity, then knelt down and proudly presented his biggest bunches of lettuce to the king.
“I grew them from the cowrie shell you gave me, Your Majesty,”
Makato told the king the whole story. The king was impressed with his intelligence and industry. So much so that later on he gave Makato a job in the palace.