A smart youngster and a crotchety old curmudgeon tended a farm together to feed their village. The crotchety old curmudgeon would only plant about half of the farm at a time, just enough to feed the village with a bit of margin for storage and enough left over to sell a bit to the caravan that would come by once a year.
The smart youngster wanted money. He was annoyed at the refusal of the crotchety old curmudgeon to maximize the area usage every season, and couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t allow them to try for three or four growing cycles across the year instead of just one or two.
One day the crotchety old curmudgeon finally died and the youngster got his chance. He planted everything he could everywhere he could, and he went even further: he put three seeds in each hole!
“Why not try for three times the crop from each unit?” he told himself, confident his smart plan would bring a tremendous bounty the likes of which the village had never seen.
The rains came and went, and the seeds started to sprout! But even though the whole farm sprouted at once, all that rose from the ground were stunted, sad, pale little shoots. No seeding occurred, no flowering, and no fruit or grain could be had from those stunted, sad, pale little shoots.
Half the village died that year and the smart youngster lost weight and fell deathly ill. He survived along with about half of the village, but just barely. Thankful to be alive but highly skeptical of smart, untested plans, he became well known for being quite a crotchety old curmudgeon.