Monday, December 21, 2009

One Straw Millionaire

By Masami Sato

A millionaire made easy through giving!

There is a Japanese folk tale about the power of giving and it exemplifies how we can get the most wonderful of gifts when we're gifting things to others and are positive about what we have already got.

Here is the story.

Once upon a time, there was a poor young farmer. Everything he did in his life never seemed to produce any wealth for him. He was totally broke with no money, no family and no food. So one night he sneaked into a temple and sat by the altar and in desperation asked the Gods what he was supposed to do.

"I have always been truthful and assiduous, but all my industry never resulted in anything good for me. What did I do wrong?"

He slept at the feet of the deity after having put that question. In the morning, just as he woke up, one of the Gods of his dream appeared before him enveloped in a brilliant golden light. The voice of the God resounded in his mind.

"When you wake up in the morning, cherish what you have in your hand and go on giving it to others liberally as you proceed," the God commanded.

The farmer opened his eyes. There were many things that he wanted to ask but he managed to pull himself up and tried to remove the confusion of the strange dream. But there seemed to be a piece of straw in his hand. It must have remained stuck on his dress while he worked in his land.

He was about to throw the straw away, but remembered what God had told him. Once again he sat down. Then he looked curiously at the bit of straw.

He sat still for a long time thinking what this meant. He had no clue why a piece of straw can be of any value to him. Then he saw a wasp flying around. It eventually landed on the tip of the straw. He caught the wasp and tied it to the straw with a piece of thread from his clothes. Now with a piece of straw with a flying wasp at the end, off he went on the path.

He had gone a little way when he found a small boy and his mother coming towards him from the other end of the road. The boy was weeping. When he said hello to the boy, the child noticed the straw that the man had with a wasp at one end. He stopped his weeping and wanted to have the straw. The farmer was hesitant to give it but then he remembered that God had asked him to value what we owned and also give it to others profusely. So he gave the straw to the boy. The mother was relieved as the boy stopped crying when he got the straw and the wasp. In return she gave the man three tangerines.

The farmer moved on. As he proceeded, he felt hungry. He was about to eat the tangerines when he again remembered that what was important was giving things to others, not giving it to himself.

He had to climb a steep hill and there he saw a trader sitting on the earth under a tree. Near the man was a wooden box. The farmer wished the trader who seemed to be very tired. The trader saw the tangerines the farmer had and asked if he could have them. The trader said he was very thirsty.

The farmer was as thirsty as the trader as he had been walking for long on that hot day. Nevertheless, he offered the tangerines to the trader, who then ate all the three tangerines and felt recharged. He felt very happy about the help rendered to him and opened the wooden box that was by his side. Inside the box were rolls of silk that was dyed with hand. The merchant gifted the farmer one roll and proceeded on his way.

The farmer walked again and continued on the same path. After a while he found a river from which he drank water. He felt recharged. He went forward with more energy and a feeling of ease.

He walked for some more time but did not come across anyone else. He felt that the silk might be that which would bring him something good. So he chose to go to a town in the vicinity and trade the fabric.

But just as he went around the corner, he saw in front of him a band of fighters. One of the fighters who looked liked the head of the band stood near a horse that was lying on the earth. The farmer heard the leader talking to his men.

"This horse is not likely to live long. We will have to abandon it here. Just look after it and follow me." Saying this, he climbed on to another horse and rode off and disappeared.

The fighters who remained there conferred among themselves as to what to do. They had no interest in putting it to death but there was no other option. Finally one of them drew the sword.

The farmer ran to them and requested them to refrain from killing it. He opted to care for the animal. In return for that he gave them the bolt of silk he had. They were happy of the offer and went away fast.

Now the farmer stood there with a dying horse. He thought he might have made a mistake that after all he was not meant to be wealthy. Then he remembered something. There was the stream he'd just passed.

He made his way to the river and once there stripped off his shirt and dipped it in water to be able to feed the horse. He made his way back to the horse again and fed it by squeezing out the water into its mouth. After the water trickled in for a while, the horse reacted and soon became conscious. The farmer was then able to pull it up and make it stand.

Once the horse could stand, the farmer was able to take it to the river. The horse drank directly from the river and the farmer also led it to the patches of grass nearby. Very soon the animal was rejuvenated.

So now the farmer owned the horse! The man and the animal traveled together, and the farmer had to run as the horse led the way. They traveled together for miles. Finally, as the sun was setting, the horse came to a halt in front of a big house. The animal pushed the farmer towards the gate when he finally drew level with it.

As the farmer approached the gate, the doors swung open and to his surprise, an old man appeared. The old man was rushing outside and was looking a little pale. He noticed the farmer and the horse standing by the gate.

The old man asked the farmer what he was doing. The farmer said he was looking for a place to stay the night. The old man said he was going to the town for an urgent matter. He asked the farmer if he minded looking after his house until he returned. He said he might not be able to come back for a little while.

The old man looked as if he was in a hurry, so the farmer told him he can take his horse. The old man was very grateful about it and immediately left with the horse. As he left, he said something totally unexpected to the farmer.

"If I am not back in three years, this house becomes yours."

As you probably guessed, the old man never returned.

The farmer lived in the large house for the rest of his life with a land full of crops surrounded by kind neighbors happily ever after. But he never forgot to always give away the things he had.

Thank you for reading this story. And what do you think it is all about?

Perhaps there is a secret to things. When we can turn the business of getting into the business of giving, our life gushes forward with greater plentitude. Still it might not be easy to incorporate into practical life this age old wisdom.

The following are the interesting principles we can see in the tale:

* When we give the things that others want, they usually value it more than we value it while when we are trying to 'sell' something (because fundamentally, we want to get something from the deal), they compare the value with our asking price and try to pay less.

* When there is no lasting attachment to the things we own, we will see that we have wider chances since we are able to free ourselves from what we have.

* When we are down and out with the problems of life, instead of worrying about the negativities if we kept focus more on giving others and caring for them, life would surely bring glad tidings later.

* If we try to turn into cash what we have accumulated, because of the conviction that "this is all it would get" thinking that if we do not encash it, we will lose, our life will stand still. Instead, why don't we keep on giving more and more irrespective of what we have or whether we are actually rich or not.

Giving is intrinsic in the lives of many who have made it to the top. When giving is done first, we are better able to lead a life of grandeur, comfort and glory.

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1 Comment:

  1. hannah said...
    A month ago I was exactly feeling how you are feeling now, in pain, crying, heart broken, and then I found this site and I followed their instructions, I had my girlfriend come back to me in no time so fast!! I was so so happy and I'm still very happy, don't give up! I suggest you view the free videos that tell you what to do on

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