“The Grand Cheat,” by Hilary Moon Murphy is a charming deal with the deva story, where not only do we find a loophole, the god is forced to enforce it. If there’s a contract, that’s even better. As the narrator observes in the first line:
A contract is only two people, each doing his damnedest to cheat the other.
As the narrator tells his grandson, when he was young, he discovered that the fates laid on his master’s two children were so awful, he resolved to help them. He grows up to be a great negotiator. Inspired by Gandhi’s Salt March, he decides that he too can defy the powers that be. After that, it’s a story of how his ingenuity works out. I especially liked the way the “cheat” involved generosity.
There also seems for me something special about finding out that a story I enjoy is the author’s first fiction sale. So if you haven’t beaten me to it (which you might, since I’m way behind on my listening), check out the reading on Pod Castle.