Once upon a time, in a small town in Peru, there was a humble young woman named Maria who lived in front of a bakery. Everyone in the town liked her because she was hard-working and had a good heart. To pay for her food, María cleaned houses and washed other people’s clothes.

The baker, Maria’s neighbor, baked the best breads, cakes and pies in the whole town. But he was a greedy and harsh man who rarely had a kind word to offer. Still, his bakery was always packed with people, because no one could bake as well as he could.

Maria and the baker rarely exchanged words, but the young woman loved the smells that came from the bakery. Before dawn, while the baker was baking, Maria would go to the bakery window to enjoy the delicious aromas.

“Ah, what delicious smells!” exclaimed the young woman. I don’t have a way to buy the breads and cakes, but I feel happy just smelling them.

The baker managed to hear Maria and furious said:

“If you’re happy with the smells, you’ll have to pay for them.”

He slammed the door shut behind the bakery and headed down the road toward the courthouse. When he came before the judge, he said:

—Maria owes me money because she has stolen from me.

And he presented his case. The judge listened carefully and summoned Maria to court, ordering her to bring ten gold coins.

Soon, the townspeople heard the news and flocked to Maria’s house. Together they had collected the ten gold coins.

The day of the trial arrived and Maria appeared at the court with the ten gold coins in a bag.

“Mary,” said the judge, “have you been smelling the baker’s cakes, pies, and breads?”

“Yes, Judge, I confess it,” said Maria. In the morning I delight in all those wonderful smells; these are confused with the air when they go out the window.

The judge was silent. The entire town, gathered in the courtroom, also fell silent.

After several minutes, the judge got up.

“I have reached a verdict,” he said. I find you guilty of stealing the baker’s scents. Now is the time for your sentence. Approach the baker and shake the bag you’re carrying with the ten coins.

Maria, very puzzled by the strange request, approached the baker and shook the bag.

They all heard the sound of coins.

The judge looked at the baker and asked, “Have you heard the sound of those coins?”

“Of course, Mr. Judge,” answered the baker.

“And is it a lovely sound to you?” asked the judge.

“Of course, Mr. Judge,” answered the baker.

“Well then,” said the judge. Maria has stolen the smells from your bakery and has paid you with the sound of coins. Case closed!