Friday, June 3, 2011
Once there was a poor man...
[The Clay Digger's Fortune, a mystical parable by Rebbe Nachman]
Once there was a poor man who used to make his living by digging clay and selling it.
One day he was digging in the mud when suddenly he found a jewel. It must have been worth a fortune! The Clay-digger had no idea how much it was worth, so he went to a jeweler to have it valued.
The jeweler told him it was worth so much that there was no-one in their country with enough money to buy it! He would have to travel to London, the capital city. But being poor, the man did not have the money to make the journey. He went and sold everything he had and went from house to house asking for contributions, until he had sufficient money to journey to the port.
He wanted to board the ship but he did not have enough money for the fare. He went to the captain and showed him the precious stone. The captain immediately took him onto the ship with great flourish, saying, "You're a sure bet!" The captain gave him a special first class cabin with every luxury as if he was a person of very high rank.
The Clay-digger's cabin had a window overlooking the sea. He would sit there enjoying himself immensely rejoicing over the diamond, especially at mealtimes, because joy and good spirits are medically proven aids to easy digestion!
One day he sat down to eat and placed the diamond on the table in front of him so that he could enjoy it. After his meal, he took a nap. While he was asleep, the cabin-boy came in and took the tablecloth with all the crumbs, and without even noticing the diamond, shook everything into the sea!
When the Clay-digger awoke he realized what had happened. He almost went out of his mind with worry and anguish. What was he to do? The captain was a pirate who would murder him for the boat fare.
Still, the Clay-digger pretended to be happy - as if he was quite unaware that anything had happened.
Every day during the voyage the captain used to talk to him for several hours. He did the same today. The Clay-digger made such a show of being happy that the captain didn't notice anything unusual.
The captain said to him, "I know you are clever and honest. I want to buy a large quantity of grain to sell in London - I can make a big profit. My fear is that I will be accused of embezzling from the royal treasury. Let the purchase be made in your name and I will reward you handsomely." The Clay-digger felt it was a good idea and he agreed.
As soon as they arrived in London, the captain died and everything was left in the hands of the Clay-digger! The cargo was in fact worth many times more than the diamond!
The truth is that the diamond did not belong to the Clay-digger - and the proof is that he lost it. The grain did belong to him - and the proof is that he kept it. And he only gained what was his because he forced himself to keep happy.