Once upon a time, in a village far far away, a leopard appeared one night and started killing and eating goats. Leopard used to come every night and kill three goats. Of the three goats that always got killed only one was eaten.
The villagers convened a meeting to investigate the death and disappearance of the goats. In the meeting a few of those trusted by most villagers were tasked with investigating the saga.
A few days later, they reported to the elders that it was indeed a leopard that was responsible for their losses. The elders then called another meeting. During the second meeting two opposing views appeared. One was that they should hunt down the leopard and kill it before it caused more damage. The second was that they should talk to the leopard and work out a compromise on the situation.
The elders chose some brave men to go and talk with the leopard after it transpired that the majority of the villagers did not support the killing of the leopard. “Gentlemen, I must eat,” said the leopard when confronted.
“But why do you kill three goats if all you need to eat is one?” asked one of the braves.
“You have a point there,” said the leopard, his head inclined to one side.
“Suppose we bring you the goat at an agreed location,” said one of the villager. “That way, you don’t trouble yourself coming down to the village, the villagers will feel safe and everyone wins.”
The leopard nodded. “I think that makes a lot of sense.”
So they agreed on a location and the villagers went back to report to their anxious people and from that evening, a goat was delivered to the location every evening.
This went on for several months then one morning, one of the villagers discovered that one of his goats was dead, and other two were missing. Another party was selected to go to the leopard's den and ask about the new development.
“Oh, as you well know, by the time of our agreement, I was alone. But now I'm married and my wife also needs to feed.”
“But why kill three goats when you only need two?” asked an elder.
The leopard inclined his head to one side, “You got a point there, old man.”
“Tell you what we shall do,” the old man continued, “we shall be leaving two goats at the location for you.”
So you took two goats from the village, how about the one we left for you at the location?” asked a young man.
“Oh, we had that one this morning to celebrate our marriage.”
The party left and headed back to the village. They made their report and though there were several dissenting voices, the villagers agreed to contribute to the leopard's well being. This state of affairs went on for almost twenty months.
Then one morning another farmer discovered one dead goat and four missing. As usual, the elders sent a party to meet the leopard.
“Well, now I'm married, and I have three lovely cubs who just started eating solid food,” said the leopard. He added with a grin, “You cannot believe the appetite of those cubs, people!”
They worked out a compromise but two years later, a visiting cousin and several new cubs had swelled the leopard population. Now ten was the minimum number of disappearing goats every night, with three of four killed in the mix.
The farmers could not accommodate the leopards anymore and a meeting of villagers decided on asking the leopards to move to another location, preferably one with a lot of goats to spare and quite far away. The leopard laughed at this.
“This village is as much yours as it is ours,” he said, “we just cannot up and leave.”
The party returned to the village to report to their elders and this time the consensus was that they should forcefully evict the leopard and his relatives.
So they gathered all manner of weapons, many opting for long range types like catapults, bows and arrows, and slings. In the middle of the afternoon they attacked the leopard`s lair. Though both sides fought ferociously and very bravely, at the end of the battle, all the sixteen leopards were dead, including six cubs, and four villagers were history. Eight of the surviving villagers had grave injuries and two actually died later that night.
Before entering into any sort of agreement or arrangement with someone, you should thoroughly check the background of the opposite party. Check each and every clause of the agreement. Ask if you do not understand. Do not accept any agreement with loopholes. You may have to repent later. And on a first instance of other party not complying with the agreement, you should consider walking away from the arrangement. Do not wait for the big blow.
In this story the elders then resolved never to enter into any agreements that had loopholes with anyone ever again.