One day a merchant comes before Raja Sulaiman to report that some time in the past two little orphan boys, having nowhere to go, took shelter in his kitchen. Now the elder is twelve years old while the younger is eight. They were never given any proper food while with him. However, since they were able to smell all the good food being prepared by his cooks, they in fact look well‑fed and are healthy. Now, adds the merchant, the boys intend to move elsewhere. He therefore appeals to Raja Sulaiman to make the orphans pay for the smell of the food which has not only kept them alive for so long, but has in fact even made them fat.
Raja Sulaiman, upon hearing the petition, remains silent for some time, thinking. He is unable to reach a decision on the case. He then consults his courtiers but no one from amongst all the highly learned officials is able to provide a solution in spite of the high reward the king offers. Raja Sulaiman then orders that Sang Kancil, the wise Judge of the Forest, be invited to court.
When Sang Kancil arrives, Raja Sulaiman gives him a place of honour next to himself on the throne. Sang Kancil is now presented with the problem. The mousedeer laughs when he hears the merchant’s petition. He tells Raja Sulaiman, that if the King is willing to lend him, Sang Kancil, the amount of money being asked for by the merchant as compensation, the problem can be immediately solved. Sang Kancil promises to return Raja Sulaiman’s money immediately upon the settlement of the case. The merchant asks for one thousand riyal.Raja Sulaiman lends the money to Sang Kancil.
The Wise Judge of the Forest goes behind a partition both the bag of money and the merchant. He asks the merchant to count the coins, dropping them one by one upon a metal tray so that the dropping of every coin and the counting by the merchant can be heard clearly by everyone in the court. When the counting is completed, Sang Kancil, placing the coins in the bag, approaches Raja Sulaiman. The matter between the merchant and the orphans, he says, has been settled. The orphans do not owe anything any more, and the merchant has become richer by the one thousand riyal he has seen, heard dropping into the metal tray, and counted for himself.
Raja Sulaiman wishes to know, however, why the money is being returned to him, instead of being given to the merchant. Sang Kancil says that all the merchant is entitled to is the sound of the coins and their being counted up to the value of one thousand rival.This is enough as compensation from the orphans for they did not actually eat the merchant’s food. They only smelt it.
Raja Sulaiman agrees that it is a good judgement. This is also the opinion of others present at court. Raja Sulaiman is highly pleased with Sang Kancil’s wisdom and sense of justice. He both praises and rewards Sang Kancil. The merchant, meanwhile, hearing the judgement, goes off in shame. With that the wisdom of Sang Kancil spreads to the whole world.