OK, Gentle Readers, here's today's fable for your enjoyment.
(c) 2017 Haylee V
One day, a farmer went to the convenience store to feed his one vice -- gambling. He knew that the odds were against him ever hitting it big, but he indulged himself once a week, allowing himself to purchase a single $1 lottery ticket. He had never won, but got joy just the same by the anticipation.
His wife, however, saw this as a needless expense.
"Why waste money on something so frivolous, anyway? You could be saving for a bigger house, a newer car, or even some finer clothes for me. I have NOTHING!" she whined incessantly.
The farmer just smiled and took it in stride.
"One day yet we may have all the finer things in life. Just wait and see..."
The next evening, as was his custom, the farmer went out to buy his ticket. When he returned home, however, his wife was in an even fouler mood than usual.
"You're late!" she bellowed. "I had to eat alone. AGAIN. Your supper's in the stove, ruined. I fell asleep waiting for you, and forgot I had left the stove on, until I smelled the smoke."
"No worries," the farmer smiled. "Missing one meal won't kill me, I guess."
The next evening, the farmer was watching the drawing. He had his ticket in hand as they drew the numbers. Imagine his surprise when he found out he had won! Twenty-six million dollars. He and his wife were set.
The next morning, the farmer started up his old, dilapidated pickup, and helped his wife in. The journey was rough, as the truck had very little padding, and rattled and clanked like it was in its death knell. Finally, they arrived at the lottery office and gathered the check. Photos were taken, and the usual rigamarole ensued. At the end of the day, the pair returned home, beaten, but bearing the $26 million dollar deposit slip.
A few days later, the farmer was visiting his friend in the next town over, when a cyclone hit, destroying everything his friend owned.
"Don't worry, friend. I still have my lottery winnings. I'll help you rebuild. That's what friends are for."
He quickly wrote his friend out a check -- for a million dollars. "This will get everything rebuilt," he said, "and afford you enough to survive until you get back on your feet. Besides, I still have twenty-five million left, so no worries."
Upon finding out what he'd done, his wife was LIVID! "We could have brought our OWN house with that. Yet you just threw away a million of OUR winnings. I'm going to bed. YOU... you can sleep with the dog tonight."
The next day, the farmer visited his fishing buddy. Unfortunately, as they were talking, a hurricane blew in, destroying the friend's entire fleet.
"No worries," the farmer said again, reaching for his checkbook. "Will five million help get you back on your feet?"
Upon hearing this, the wife was even angrier than before. "Think of the luxuries we could have had. I could have cruised around the world for a year! How can you be so wasteful? Tonight, not only do you sleep with the dog, but you also go hungry. GOOD NIGHT!"
A week later, the farmer was visiting his friend who owned the best hotel in the land. As they were sitting at a nearby bistro having lunch, the hotelier watched in horror as the building caught fire. Fortunately, everyone was evacuated safely, but the hotel lay in shambles, burnt completely to the ground.
"I'll never be able to rebuild," cried his friend. "It cost me about twenty million the first time. I simply don't have that much..."
The farmer reached over and handed his friend a check -- the last of his fortune.
When he arrived home, penniless, he tried to explain things to his wife, but she simply wouldn't hear of it.
"You had a FORTUNE just two weeks ago, yet now you're penniless. You're a worthless excuse for a man, and I don't need you. Take your things, and GET OUT of my life. We're THROUGH!"
For the first time in his life, the farmer actually cried. He had lost it all -- his fortune, his farm, and his wife. He had nothing left in this world. Sadly, he turned, and began to head for town, his head hung low.
As he reached town, he realized just how hungry he was. He walked into the local diner, begging for just a crust of day-old bread. His farmer friend overheard, and took pity on him..
"Come home with me, my friend. We're still rebuilding, mind you, but one more mouth to feed won't make much difference to my wife. After all, it's the least we can do."
The next morning, the farmer awoke to breakfast in a warm, soft bed. As he looked around, he realized that he wasn't on his friend's farm.
"Welcome," the hotelier said, amicably. "I know the room's a bit small, but you can stay here until we get rebuilt. It's the least I can do..."
The farmer thanked his friend, tears in his eyes. Yet something was still missing. He decided to take a walk on the pier. Maybe, he thought, the fisherman can tell me what's lacking. After all, he IS the most worldly of my friends.
Unfortunately, the fisherman was out to sea. His daughter, however, greeted him cordially.
"I don't know how to ever thank you," she gushed. "For years now, it's been just me and Dad. After the storm, I thought we'd be lost -- separated forever. My only option was to marry the rich banker -- a man I didn't trust, and liked even less. You gave us hope."
"Yes, but what does that matter now? My wife has left me, and I feel so... alone."
"You're not. I've always loved you, and if you'll have me..."
The farmer and the fisherman's daughter were wed the next month. Nearly everyone in town came to the wedding -- except the ex-wife and the banker, who had secretly been having an affair for years. The farmer now knew true happiness. He had friends that cared, a nice place to stay, plenty of food to eat, and the unending love of his new bride.
True, the wife now had the fancy house and cars, the clothes, and all of life's finer things -- until her new lover was arrested for embezzlement and racketeering. As she watched everything being taken away by the Feds, she began to cry. She turned to her "social circle", but, as she was now poor, and had a felon as a lover, she was no longer "worthy". She didn't want to go back to her ex-husband, who, in her mind, was still worthless. Having nothing further to lose, she slipped off in the night. The next morning, the coroner found her, dangling alone from a tall, gnarled maple far away from town.
Being rich is not about how much money one has, but about the GOOD one can do with it.
Always strive to do good in everything you do, and happiness will follow you wherever you go.
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