Wednesday, April 1, 2015

True Wealth

Once upon a time there was an old farmer. He had three sons who were always fighting and squabbling amongst themselves. Their quarrelsome behavior made the old man very unhappy.

One day, he called his three sons and showed them a beautiful wooden box. It was intricately carved and had a tiny lock.

The old farmer said, “My sons! The time has come for you three to make your own way in the world. I am dividing my fields among you three. Whoever grows the best crop will inherit this box. It has something of such immense value that its worth cannot be calculated.”

The sons were very intrigued. They wondered what could such thing be but their father would give them no clue. He took them outside and showed them their part of the fields.

Next morning, each son went to his field and started working. Each had resolved to gain the box and show the other brothers that he was better than them.

They toiled all day long in their respective fields and by evening, they were very tired. Though they had worked the entire day, it seemed as if little work had got done. The three fields looked empty and barren, with a few stalks swaying here and there. 

The older brother approached his younger brothers, “Look if we all work together, we can get more work done.”

“You are saying this because you want to get your hands on father’s box,” interrupted the middle brother. 

“Why should I help you two? You will only take advantage and the leave me high and dry,” added the youngest.

“If we don’t work together, the planting season will be over and we will have no crops to harvest. None of us will get the box. We can make a pledge to be honest to each other and work together. If the thing in father’s box is so valuable, we can divide it among ourselves but let us not waste the opportunity.”

The younger brothers thought that this made sense. Each morning, they would work together shoulder to shoulder but sometimes they would still fight over the use of tractor, sacks of seeds or pesticide sprayers. 

When they showed the ripe crops to their father, he said, “You have done well my sons, but this is not enough.”

Next season, the sons worked even harder. They cared for each other’s fields to protect it against weeds and pests. They irrigated the fields equally and never squabbled over water. They protected the grains from birds and rodents. Due to their combined efforts, they had a bumper crop that year.

Again they showed the crops swaying in the fields to their father.” You have done very well my sons, but this is not enough to hand over my box to any of you.”

The sons became determined to win the box. They put their heads together to study new methods of farming, invested money in new equipment and learn modern farming techniques. 

All year, they worked like one. That year they had a stupendous crop and made a lot of money.

One evening, when they were all sitting together under the starry sky, the old farmer brought the box out of its hiding place. As he was about to open it, the eldest stopped him.

“Father, we do not need your wealth. We have learned to earn it with our own hands.” His brothers agreed. 

Chuckling, the old man, opened the tiny lock. The box was empty. 

“My sons. Today, I am proud of you. Your hard work, unity and honesty are characteristics that are your true wealth. Do not squander it. As long as you work together and take care of each other, you will always do well. It is only when you fight among yourselves, that you become weak and feeble.”

The three sons always remembered the words of their wise, old father. 

I hope you would too!!

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