Once the Bodhisatta was appraiser to the king of Benares, with whom he always dealt fairly. The king was greedy, and thinking that his appraiser paid too much for things bought for the palace, he appointed in his place a rustic, whom he happened to see passing. This man fixed prices according to his own fancy. One day a dealer brought five hundred horses from Uttarāpatha, and the appraiser valued the whole lot at a single measure of rice. The horse-dealer sought the Bodhisatta's advice, who suggested that the appraiser should be asked to value a measure of rice. The horse-dealer went to the king, and, in the presence of the court, asked the appraiser the value of one measure of rice. The man replied that it was worth all Benares and its suburbs. The ministers laughed, thus putting the king to shame. He dismissed the fool and reinstated the Bodhisatta.
The story was told in reference to Lāludāyi, who had a dispute with Dabba Mallaputta regarding the distribution of food tickets. The monks thereupon asked Lāludāyi to undertake the task. This he did so badly that great confusion ensued, and the matter was reported to the Buddha, who related the above story to show that in the past, too, his stupidity had deprived others of their profit.
Lāludāyi is identified with the false appraiser. J.i.123-26.