In a land far away, there lived a man called, Reza. One night, he decided to steal some onions and sell them at the local market for a handsome profit. It was a warm summer's night with enough light from the moon to be able to see clearly. He picked up a big basket and galloped away on his horse to a farm in the neighboring village.
When he reached the farm, he made sure no one was around and started to pick the onions one by one. After he had collected 100 onions and the basket was full, he decided to get back on his horse and go home. As Reza lifted the heavy basket onto the horse, the horse neighed loudly.
Inside the farm house, the farmer's wife heard the noise and got up to see where it was coming from. Looking out the window, she spotted Reza near his horse and alerted her husband and children. The entire Mahmood Family rushed outside and caught the thief before he could get away on his horse.
Shortly after daylight, the Mahmood Family presented Reza, the thief in front of the village head to be sentenced for stealing their 100 onions. The village head gave Reza three options - he could pay a 100 gold coins, get a 100 lashes, or eat the 100 onions he stole!
Reza decided to eat the 100 onions. As he ate the onions his eyes began to water and he felt miserable. After 25 went down his throat, he realized that there were still 75 left, so he decided to take the 100 lashes instead. The village head agreed and Reza prepared himself for the pain. After 10 lashes, he couldn't take the torture anymore and begged the man to stop. Finally, he decided to pay the 100 gold coins, and the village head set him free.
What if Reza had paid the 100 gold coins, initially? He would have avoided eating the onions and getting the lashes, but instead he chose to go about it the "long way around." The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but if you prefer zig zags, triangles, circles, or polygons, it will be tougher to get to your destination!
Note: This story is based on an old Punjabi tale a friend told me about a thief who stole a 100 onions.