A GRAIN OF RICE
The daughter of the Chinese Emperor was ill, and he promised riches beyond compare to whoever could cure her. A young peasant named Pong Lo entered the palace. With his wit and bravery he restored the Princess's health, and won her heart. As his reward, Pong Lo asked for her hand in marriage. The Emperor refused and asked the peasant to think of anything else he would like.
After several moments of thought, Pong Lo said, "I would like a grain of rice".
"A grain of rice! That is nonsense! Ask me for fine silks, the grandest room in the palace, a stable full of wild stallions, they shall be yours!"
"A grain of rice will do," said Pong Lo. But if His Majesty insists, he may double the amount every day for a hundred days."
So on the first day a grain of rice was delivered to Pong Lo. On the second day, two grains of rice were delivered. On the third day Pong Lo received four grains, and on the fourth day, eight grains.
On the fifth day - 16 grains
On the sixth day - 32 grains
On the seventh day - 64 grains
On the eighth day - 128 grains
By the twelfth day the grains of rice numbered 2,048. By the twentieth day, 524,288 grains were delivered. And by the thirtieth day 536,870,912 grains requiring servants to carry them were brought to Pong Lo.
In desperation the Emperor did the only honourable thing he could do and consented to the marriage. Out of consideration for the
Emperor's feelings, no rice was served at the wedding banquet.