In a faraway land, but at a time not so long ago, there was a sleepy village and a hunger throughout the land. The people there were barely able to scrape together enough to eat from day to day, and they had to range far and wide through the fields and forest and down by the stream to scrape together enough to keep the rumblings of their bellies at bay.
Close by the village was a worn, dusty track along which the trading caravans would sometimes travel bringing goods from distant lands. But the caravans did not stop at the village. Their destination was somewhere far off, beyond anywhere that the villagers had ever been, or ever hoped to go.
The men of the caravans spoke another tongue, and the villagers could only stand and watch as the carts laden with goods rolled by. Sometimes a rock in the track would jolt a cart and dislodge a small trinket, or perhaps a coin would slip from a saddlebag and fall unnoticed among the tracks.
There were those in the village that would search long and hard, bent over looking for a coin or some morsel which might have fallen the night before.
One day while traveling along this track on his way back to the village from gathering nuts and herbs in the forest a young lad spied something down in the dusty track where a cart had passed some days before. As he leaned down to pick it up a beggar came hustling over. “Is that a coin? I think I just dropped one there as it has slipped through a hole in my pocket!” he exclaimed.
The boy was holding the object in his hand.
“Let me see!” The beggar grabbed roughly at the boy’s wrist, and pulled it closer so as to examine it. But then he laughed.
It was not a coin. It was simply two seeds stuck closely together. Two yellow kernels that you and I might call corn.
“Ha! Not even a small meal for a bird,” crowed the beggar. “I thought you’d found something of some value boy, but this is worthless!”
Still, he held the boy’s wrist even tighter for a moment.
“Mind you! If you find a even so much as a copper coin along these tracks, best bring it to me straightaway, lest I and my cane catch you with it later!”
He waved his cane menacingly at the boy, who then winced. More than one child in the village had felt that cane across their back or rapped against their shins.
The boy said nothing, but he rubbed the dust off the kernels with his thumb, and then slipped them into his pocket.
As the boy ran off, the old beggar laughed and called after him “Guard that treasure well, boy!” he cackled.
Then the beggar bent over again, leaning on his cane, and returned to searching the ground, his eyes weaving back and forth, hoping to find a coin or anything of value there in the wagon tracks. This, was as he had always done.
And so it was that on that day, along that dusty well-worn track, although he did not know it yet, the boy was exposed to this first lesson for wealth and prosperity:
Sometimes a thing of great value does not appear to be so when we find it. It may have been overlooked by many, lying there in plain sight of others who pass right on by. Even upon discovery, it may appear to be of little value whatsoever. You have to figure out what to do with it first!
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