The Poor Man and his Luck
Narrated by Shirguma Soraga
Once there lived a poor man in a certain village. On the road he met a very beautiful woman.
“Where are you going, and what do you want to do?”
“I want to work and get money and be rich,” he said.
She said, “I will make you rich.”
She took him home and gave him seeds to sow on a certain hill. On his way to the field he saw a man collecting pieces of firewood, and he piles them, but he’s never satisfied. He binds the sticks with a rope, then he goes to get another and another. When they were too many for him to carry he bound them all, and tried to put the bundle on his back, but he couldn’t. And still he went to fetch more, and tried to carry it again, but he couldn’t.
“But why pile all this wood like that, knowing that you can’t carry it? Throw some away and take the rest home easily,” said the man.
The man answered, “It’s none of your business. Go on your way.”
Then he met another man who was cutting the cereal crop with a sickle. But he was mowing all the cereal, even the ones not ready, the tefA grain grown in the highlands of Ethiopia. and the barley all together, even though the barley wasn’t ripe.
The man said, “Why do you do that? Why don’t you mow the ripe ones and leave the rest till they are ripe?”
“Well, who are you to tell me what to do? Continue your journey.”
The third man he saw was pushing a big rock.
“What are you trying to do?”
“I’m pushing a rock.”
He tries again.
“But you can’t. It’s very big for you.”
“ It’s up to me to try. None of your business. Go on your journey and don’t interfere with my trouble with the rock.”
So he went to the field to sow, and when he finished he came home.
“What did you see on your journey?” the beautiful woman asked.
He told her about the three men and what they had said. He told her of the first man who was piling the wood.
She said, “That was a moneylender. He wants more and more. The second man is death. He kills the young and the old alike, the weak, the strong, the rich, the poor. The one pushing the rock, I told him not to do so, but that man is thought, troubled by his thought, thinking too much, ambitious, weighed down by his cares. Insatiable. The man pushing the rock wanted to be a very rich man.”
The woman said, “You must sow the seeds of a watermelon, and you will become rich.”
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