One day, a couple millennia
ago, a servant was working in the wheat field of a wealthy farmer. The farmer owned a vast spread of fertile land and was the only producer of grain in the entire countryside.
The servant was standing before an enormous pile of wheat, and was hard at work with his winnowing blade.
Suddenly, the servant heard a voice from behind him.
“Hey,” the voice said. “What are you doing?”
Realizing it was the voice of his employer, he quickly spun around and bowed heavily.
“I was separating the wheat from the chaff, my lord,” the servant said.
“Why in the heck are you doing that?” the wealthy farmer asked, testily.
“It is the way we do, my master. For the chaff of the wheat is undesirable.”
The wealthy farmer stood for a few moments, then asked,
“How long does it take you to collect this much wheat?” he asked.
“About half a day,” answered the servant.
“And how long does it take you to separate?”
“About half a day,” the servant replied.
As the wealthy farmer was seemingly staring out into space, the servant began winnowing the wheat again.
“Stop that!” snapped the wealthy farmer. “Are you out of your mind?” he shouted.
The servant only stood and stared, not following what his employer was saying.
“Don’t you realize that chaff adds more weight to my wheat? You can just load the wheat into the sacks to the same weight and seal them up,” said the farmer. “The buyers can separate the chaff themselves, we can sell one-third more sacks of wheat and you can cut your separation time down by half a day,” beamed the wealthy farmer.
The servant was overjoyed with the thought that he no longer would have to toil in the fields all day long.
“Thank you so much, my lord, for what you have done,” exclaimed the happy servant.
“You’re welcome,” said the wealthy farmer. “Now, starting tomorrow, you can collect twice the grain for half your normal pay since you no longer have to winnow the wheat!”