Tag Archives: greed

A Man Without Avarice

A Man Without Avarice

 

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In the Halls of the Immortals, where the virtuous and brave dwell after their time spent on the mortal coil was done, there was great consternation. There were no more recruits from Earth, not in the last hundred years.

A conclave was called and the situation on the Earth was viewed, and reviewed. The problem was immediately apparent; greed and materialism had taken hold in every part of the globe. Nobody did anything anymore unless it produced material gain for themselves or, blocked their competitor from attaining an advantage.

One would assume that all this preoccupation with wealth would lead to a cornucopia of abundance, however quite the opposite was true. People, afraid of theft or jealousy, hid their possessions while the rest of the populace lived in abject poverty. Those who could not contribute to the economic engine or whose lives could not be gainfully exploited were cast aside with no further consideration. They were of no value, and therefore of no concern.

The Immortals, however, could not believe that humanity had deteriorated so far and chose to believe there was some semblance of virtue still in existence. Surely there was someone on Earth who had not been tainted by the rot of materialism. Keeping alight this hope they resolved to send an emissary to the mortal realm to find this exceptional being, and they commissioned a discerning member Briannhon, who could turn base rock into fine gold nuggets with his touch.

 

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Dispatched to the Earthly realm, Briannhon wandered the four corners of the globe, repeatedly using the same method to test those candidates who seemed most likely to rise above their base instincts.

Presented with a likely applicant, the Immortal tested him. He would first turn a small pebble into a large gold nugget and offer it to him.

 

 

Most people quickly picked up the nugget and walked away. If they were a bit wealthier they examined the nugget then pocketed it and asked for more.  For those who held out for more, Briannhon then took a larger rock and turned that one into an even larger ingot of gold.

 

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 The greed however was never satiated, they still asked for more and when, being disappointed in them, he did not deliver, they shrugged and went away with curses on their lips.

 Briannhon continued testing person after person, growing more disillusioned as time wore on.

 

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Finally he reached a small village on the edge of human habitation but even there, far removed from cultural influences, they still exhibited the same greedy and materialistic traits.

Then one day he heard of a person who was commonly regarded as living totally outside of the norms of society, a man who had no regard for anyone or anything in the village. His mother had shown up one night out of nowhere, gave him birth, and then summarily died. Poor peasant looking to train him as a goat herder took him in and let him live and be nursed in the goat shed. When the orphan showed no promise the peasant cut his losses and cast him into the streets to fend for himself.  But with his will to survive, he persisted, endured untold hardships and humiliation, often   eating the garbage people tossed at him for amusement’s sake. As he had never been given a name, people called him “The Idiot”.

 

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The Idiot was sifting through the latest deposit of waste at the garbage dump on the edge of the village.   Briannon called out to The Idiot and summarily elucidated his objective of finding the right kind of person and after a test for which he would be empowered to make this worthy individual rich beyond imaginings. 

“Are you interested? “, he then asked.

The Idiot had listened intently but pretended not to care.

 

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When the Immortal turned a pebble into a golden nugget as a demonstration, The Idiot appeared to be unimpressed and continued in his search through the rubbish.  

Surprised,  Briannon turned a larger stone into a fine golden ingot as an  enticement.  The Idiot turned his head to see, then turned it right back again quite uninterested.

 

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Briannon was encouraged to see this response.

Finally the Immortal turned the entire heap of trash surrounding them into fine minted ingots of gold, piled up one on top of another but all his efforts earned him was another scowl from The Idiot.

 

 

“You appear not to want gold, sir. What is it that you want after all?”

The Idiot a pursing his lips, he finally grunted, “What’s the use of all this gold?

 Better to sew your finger onto my hand. In this way I, too, can turn rocks into gold and enjoy endless wealth.”

 

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The End.

 

 

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True Value (The Gift)

True Value (The Gift)

All of us at one time or other have come upon these wise words: “Don’t judge a book by its cover. “ Yet in our fast paced society, we often rush headlong into things, make erroneous judgements, form ill conceived opinions and then follow the wayward paths that lead us astray. We would fare far better if cool heads prevailed. Be open- minded, don’t rely so heavily on the first impressions and remember: a second opinion would help to determine the truth.

Once upon a time there was a wise young geologist named Leon who chanced upon a very rare find during excavation in high altitudes. The item was half buried in the riverbank alongside a rushing turbulent stream. To the untrained eye, the object resembled a huge chunk of ice with a slightly pinkish hue, only it was solid as a rock. But Leon having at once recognized its true value carefully stored it away until he could acquire a very elaborate box to contain it.  This rosewood box had jewels inlaid on its side with brilliant patterns of stars and constellations carved in gold and silver all the way around it. Inside was lined with the finest plush, soft velvet.

At the end of his carefree adventurous days, having grown rather opulent, Leon decided to settle down and remarry in order to provide his precious young boy Kori with a more stable home. A pretty young widow with a single child of her own appeared to be the most suitable candidate and so before long they were married in an elaborate ceremony.  Unfortunately her true nature soon surfaced and he discovered their underlying incompatibility. Struggling with his inner dissatisfaction over the years Leon suffered some setbacks and fell on hard times. On the urgings of his second wife he parted with most of his precious possession in order to keep up with her and her daughter’s extravagant demands but always resisted the idea of selling his rare find.

Once on a quiet day alone in his study with his son, who also shared his interest in reading, Leon had allowed Kori to handle the pinkish stone. “You like it too, don’t you son?” He’d asked with bemused smile on his lips as he reached to retrieve the stone.

“Yes, papa, I do, it’s such an interesting rock. Tell me again how you found it.”  In truth Kori loved the story more than the rock itself and never got tired of hearing it. His father equally enthused, always obliged him with such colourful elaboration. This day at the end of his narration however, his father looked grim and said, “I ‘m sorry you had to suffer such unwarranted hardships on my account but I could not bring myself to part with it. “ He looked up earnestly then and said the strangest thing. “Actually, I’ve been saving it for you. “  With a shrug he then arose and, after carefully placing it into that beautiful box again, walked over and promptly placed it in the safe concealed behind an obscure painting hanging above his desk.

When some years later Leon fell mysteriously ill and died intestate his holdings and the affairs of the entire estate were bestowed upon his wife.  She lost no time in selling the property, the land and everything of value, including the precious box that, by the way, fetched a pretty handsome price.  But as for the lump of stone inside, before selling the box, she’d simply taken it out and on the verge of throwing it away, after a second thought, thrust it into the palm of her stepson and said, “Now, don’t go complaining that I haven’t given you anything from your dad.”

The boy remembered well what his father had said that day long ago, though he’d never shared this with anyone. And so he graciously accepted this paltry gift from his stepmother and happily tucked it away in his pocket.

Predictably, she’d next sought to rid herself of the burden of Kori, and sent this poor orphan packing to a distant paternal relative.  The boy grew up there modestly and without incident, till one day, when he was handling this rock in the classroom, it drew the attention of his Geography teacher.

The rest as they say is history.  The piece of rock proved to be an uncut, priceless pink diamond that fetched a fortune at auction, affording the poor little boy comfort and riches beyond anyone’s imagination.

By Bo and Steve

Two Tigers Fighting

Two Tigers Fighting

Once upon a time there were two powerful nations at war.

As each were equal in might the fierce continuous engagement had lasted for over two years wasting away manpower, arms and draining the treasury with neither of them gaining an advantage.

The long drawn out war presented certain advantages to an adjoining kingdom.  The Sovereign of this neighbouring country, was considering intervention to bolster his country’s prestige and might.  He called a war counsel and asked his ministers for their opinion. The ministers were divided; some claimed this was an opportunity that should not be missed, others claimed it would only draw their country into this never ending conflict and the losses would far outweigh any advantages. Only one junior minister, Roltan, had remained quiet on the subject.   After several hours of discussion the King, left with a serious quandary, dismissed the entire counsel, save for Roltan.

“You have abstained from voicing your opinion, any reason for that? “  The King addressed Roltan when the chamber had emptied.

“Your Majesty is most discerning, “Roltan begun with certain eloquence. “ Your Highness, if I may I be so bold as to relate a short story about what had happened to me once. When I was in my teens, to test my mettle, I had once undertaken to hunt a pair of Tigers that were terrorizing a village.

To lure the tigers to a trap, I had first tied an ox to the trunk of an ancient tree in a clearing just outside of the village perimeter.

When the tigers, as expected, descended upon the captive prey, I readied myself to strike.  Fortunately, I had with me a seasoned hunter, who quickly advised me to hold still. “Wait, he said. “ If you confront them now they will both attack you in unison. The beasts are just beginning to devour the ox. When they are halfway through, finding the meat rather savoury, they will fall into strife as they contend for the choices parts.  After the fray the smaller one will be bested while the big one will suffer injury.  Then you will easily finish them both and win certain fame for killing two tigers at once. “   Roltan paused, collecting his words before he spoke.” Never before has our Kingdom been in a more advantageous position to reach its true potential. “

The king eyed this young recruit with an appraising smile. It was in fact his secret ambition to ultimately subjugate these other kingdoms all under one rule, his rule.

Call a Stag a Horse

Call a Stag a Horse

Call a Stag a Horse

(Another story from Prickly)

Once upon a time there was an old kingdom that had for many years enjoyed the wise rule of its Sovereigns. There came an unfortunate period when a young weak Prince, not particularly adept at ruling, ascended the throne.  As it is with such rulers, a particularly power-hungry uncle became Regent to the new King and sought to seize power for himself before the boy King reached the age of maturity.  There remained one snag in his plan of usurpation however, as many of the senior ministers remained loyal to the old Dynasty and would mount an effective opposition.  To ensure his success the Uncle needed to ascertain with absolute confidence who among them were not his staunch supporters.

On the King’s birthday, last among many rare handsome gifts, the Uncle offered a very beautiful, white stag and said” Your Majesty, I’m privileged to also present this rare white stallion for your Highness’s riding pleasure.”

The King laughed good humouredly and said, “Your eyes must be failing you Uncle, for I see before me only a stag.”

At this point the Regent turned to address the many ministers that were present at Court, and with a grand gesture pointedly asked, “Good ministers, pray tell, is it a horse or a stag that you eyes behold?”

Some kept their silence, others, to please the Regent acceded readily that it was a beautiful white stallion. Proud but unwise ones protested haughtily that it was a stag and further grumbled under their breath that the Regent had gone a bit too far this time with this shameless posturing.

In the days that followed those loyal, steadfast ministers who had dared to speak the truth were one by one demoted, framed, besmirched or libelled.  Subsequently, all likely opponents were either publicly executed or quietly perished in the dungeons.

The young King, last of his line, was methodically driven to madness and then suicide, paving the way for the Uncle to seize the throne.