Long ago a miserly baker lived next to a poor, kind soul. Every morning, the smell of cinnamon buns and sweet rolls wafted from the bakery, and the neighbor would enjoy the aroma as he ate his breakfast of oatmeal. The baker watched and thought to himself, “The smell of my rolls and bread make his lousy food taste delicious! He should have to pay me for it!”
He went next door and handed his neighbor a bill. The neighbor laughed and said, “Thank you for the wonderful smell of your rolls, but I don’t have enough money to pay this bill.”
Enraged, the baker went to a judge to plead his case. Everyone expected the judge to laugh him out of court, but after listening to the baker he said, “This is a very unusual case. I must be fair to both parties.” And he ordered the baker and his neighbor to come to court in the morning. Furthermore, he ordered the neighbor to bring five gold coins.
The neighbor was very nervous. Five gold coins was all the money he had. But he showed up the next morning with the money in his pocket.
The judge listened to the baker and the neighbor, then made his decision. “I find you guilty of stealing this baker’s smells,” he told the neighbor. “Do you have the five gold coins I told you to bring?”
Sadly, the neighbor started to hand the coins over, but the judge said, “Not yet. Drop the coins from one hand to the other.”
After the neighbor did so, the judge asked the baker, “Did you enjoy that sound?”
“Very much,” the baker replied.
“Then you have been repaid,” the judge said. “The pleasant sound of money is a fair payment for the sweet smell of your rolls. Case dismissed.”