The Monkey, mischievous as he is, devised a new scheme. He went to his next-door neighbour, saying, “Give me your savings, and I will return them to you in double in just fifteen days!”
The neighbour, down on his luck, jumped at the proposition and duly handed the Monkey the last of what he had. One week passed and the Monkey again went door knocking, this time a little further down the street. He asked the same question and this time was given a much bigger bag and so, as promised, in fifteen days the first neighbour was re-paid in double, and what was left over was a handsome sum. And still there was another whole week to door knock! The Monkey lay back and chuckled to himself wondering why no one else had ever thought of such a brilliant scheme before. Each week he went a little further: Door-to-door. All ears were inclined by his silver-spoken offer and few had reason to decline. And so, with the sum he owned and owed having risen higher and higher, eventually, he came a-knocking at the door of the Pay Czar. Yet before he could ask him for credit, the Czar softly spoke, "People say you work miracles for them. Ape, let me work one for you. Give me your money and I will triple the sum overnight." So it was done. And it was the last anyone heard of the Monkey. Smart enough was he to cheat everyone, but wise enough was he to know when to stop.
It's not the law that puts an end to fraud, neither is it bankruptcy. There comes a point when a swindler knows their game is up. It's the moment they meet their master.
Taken from the book "Animal Spirits – Fables" by Michael Stevenson and Jan Verwoert, published by Christoph Keller Editions / JRP Ringier, Zurich 2013.