The "Poor" Nobleman

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Many years ago, a very wealthy nobleman took his son with him to tour his vast lands. Along the way, the son saw many of the nobleman's poor serfs. As night approached, and being far from home, they reached perhaps the poorest serf they had encountered. The man and wife looked bedraggled - their clothes were little more than rags, their small hovel run-down, and crowded by them and their three children. Cats and dogs ran in and out frequently, and the food was nothing more than fruits and vegetables -- there was no meat, no cheeses, no bread, and especially no wine. They drank water from a creek that ran out back of their hovel. They had no lighting at all in the house, save for a tiny fire in the fireplace, which served as heating and for cooking. Stars shone through the poorly thatched roof.

Upon returning home, the nobleman asked his son, "How was the trip?"

"Very good, Father," the son replied.

"And did you see how poor people live?"


"And what did you LEARN?" the nobleman asked smugly, as he looked out over his vast estate.

"I saw that we have no dog, yet animals ran freely through their house, bringing the children laughter as they played. I saw that we have a small pool in our garden for swimming and bathing, while they had an entire creek to splash in. I saw that we often drink wine -- which can be quite bitter at times, and never manages to truly quench my thirst, while they drink pure, crisp,refreshing water from their brook. I saw that we have static, smelly oil lamps for light and a smoky oil stove for heat, while they have a cheerful fire and infinite twinkling stars. We eat bland meat and strong cheeses and crusty bread, while they feast on the very fruits of their labors -- the vegetables were crisp and flavorful, and the fruits were sweet and filling. Our patio reaches only to the front yard, while they have the entire horizon at their disposal. Our clothes are hot, scratchy, and heavy. -- confining. Theirs are light, airy, and cool -- freeing. I see your brows often fraught with worry, while happiness overflowed their house."

As he finished, the nobleman just stood there, speechless.

The son then turned to his father and said, "Before the trip, I never realized how truly POOR we were..."


I have tried to find out the origins of this parable. Though a Google search of the moral comes up with about 13 million hits, most sites report the author as ANONYMOUS. If you know the originator of this parable, Please PM me. - Haylee V

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This story is 453 words long.