The port of Milna on the island of Brac
From the 13th Century, the Dalmatian coast began to fall under the dominion of the Most Serene Republic of Venice.
In the little port of Milna on the island of Brac the people became concerned that prosperity was passing them by and, after much deliberation, they concluded that the cause lay in a deficiency of wisdom. All agreed that the best wisdom was to be found in the great city of Venice, so they sent two of their merchants to the capital to buy some. After some searching, they found a wealthy merchant who traded in wisdom and they agreed a deal. The merchant handed them the wisdom in a small box and warned them not to open it until they were safely back in Milna.
The Venetian Republic and its Dalmatian colonies, 1560
The merchants of Milna expressed surprise that sufficient wisdom could be contained in such a small box, but the the Venetian merchant told them not to worry. He instructed that on their return to Milna they should immediately assemble all the townspeople. When they opened the box, they would find that there was more than enough wisdom for everyone.
On the way home, all went well until a violent storm forced them to seek shelter on the small island of Mrduja, just short of the safety of their home harbour. Crouched miserably over their little fire under the shelter of the trees they were overcome with curiosity and decided to open the box for a quick peek. Immediately. a little mouse leapt out and scurried off into the forest. In the morning, the merchants continued their journey to Milna and reported what had happened. On hearing the news, the townsfolk jumped into their boats and set off for Mrduja to search for their lost wisdom.