The town barrel-maker had repaired some barrels for the innkeeper. When he had finished the work he came to the inn and the lady-innkeeper of “The Sun” brought him a glass of wine.
“Well, my good woman,” said the barrel-maker, “how is it going?”
“No good at all,” answered the woman. “Those people in the town are all going to the inn next to ours, “The Star”, and I can’t see why they do not like my wine which is known to be better!”
The barrel-maker said: “I shall tell you the reason, my dear lady, if you won’t be offended.”
“Not at all,” answered the woman, “I shall take your advice rather as a sign of friendship.”
“Then,” continued the barrel-maker, “I’ll tell you plainly. The innkeeper of ‘the Star’ has certainly not good wine, but his glasses are clear and clean as crystal. The lady-innkeeper of ‘the Sun’, on the other hand, has better wine, but the glasses are filthy. The wine can be as good as you wish, but nobody will drink from dirty glasses. Be careful, then, and see that the glasses are always kept clean, the floor polished, the window clean and the tables neat and tidy. When you do all these things you will find that all your clients will return and that you will have more customers than you ever dreamed of.”
The lady-innkeeper took the advice to heart and immediately began to put everything in order. She polished all the pans and pots and cups and in a short while there was not to be seen a speck of dust. When the people of the town heard about the change, they all came there to drink her wonderful wine from clean glasses and to stay in her inn. There was such a crowd at times that she was hardly able to attend on all of them.
“Do you see,” she would repeat to her children, “what cleanliness can do? It has given us work and joy, while dirtiness had already brought us ruin.”