If I Had All the Gold...
(c) 2017 Haylee V
Once upon a time, there lived a handsome, but very greedy and conceited prince. In fact, the only thing this prince loved more than himself was gold.
One day, while out strolling his vast kingdom, he happened to see a poor peasant getting ready to throw a basket into the river. Upon reaching the peasant, he realized the basket in question was filled to the brim with what appeared to be golden eggs!
"Wait!" said the prince. "Don't you know how valuable those eggs are?"
"Why?" the peasant replied. "I haven't eaten in three days, and all my goose can do is lay these. They're not even edible. The goose, and these eggs, are TOTALLY USELESS!"
"In that case," the greedy prince said, seizing his (quite literal) golden opportunity, "I propose a trade. All the geese in my kingdom, in exchange for your one goose and all her eggs."
Why, thought the poor peasant, If I had that many geese, I'd never be hungry again. And I'd have the softest bed and warmest quilt in the land, with all that down.
"Deal!" said the peasant. "I'll fetch her to the castle at once. You already have all the eggs she's laid, except the very first one. I threw it in my garbage, but I can get it for you, if you want it."
"Indeed I do!" the greedy prince said, rubbing his fingers.
So, the prince gave up his entire flock, but now had the world's only golden-egg laying goose.
The next day, the prince was out walking again, when he overheard a farmer crying.
"This cow is no good. The milk she gives is completely useless. Every time I try to make cheese with it, it turns to gold, and the same thing happens when I try to churn it. I end up with a bar of gold instead of butter. Her only use now will be for the slaughterhouse."
Again seizing the opportunity, the prince spoke up.
"I'll give you every cow, bull, steer, and calf in my kingdom, if you'll trade me this cow, and all the milk she's given you thus far."
Without hesitation, the farmer agreed happily.
The next day, the prince overheard yet another farmer.
"My land is completely worthless. Everything I plant comes up solid gold. The trees only give me solid gold apples and pears, my fields only produce solid gold wheat stalks and corn ears; why even the stream has nothing but solid gold fish. I'd trade it all, just for a decent, farmable tract of land."
"I'll give you my castle, and all the surrounding land. Do we have a deal?"
The farmer was all too happy to agree, so the prince moved his cow and goose into the farmer's hovel that day.
Every day that passed, the greedy prince's gold collection grew. For every egg he took, the goose would lay two more in its place. The cow never seemed to run out of milk, giving back two quarts for every one milked. For every golden fish the prince caught, two more would replace it, and his fields yielded their golden fruits in ample supply. The prince had never been happier...
Until he began to get hungry. Having nothing to his name but the gold, he went to the market, to try to barter.
"Of what use are golden fish or apples? Or golden cheese or corn ears? We can't eat them, or really do anything at all with them other than look at them glisten. They're useless."
Finally, a kind peddler took pity on the prince.
"While I have no use for your golden wares, I also can't stand to see anyone, no matter how greedy, go hungry. Although the fare is meager to a prince of your wealth, you may share with me."
And that meal, to the greedy prince, meant more than all the gold he owned, for it had saved him from certain starvation.
Money isn't the only thing in life.
Sometimes we forget that the only value something- or someone- has is what we choose to give to it, and what we see as "valuable" others may see as "useless". Always strive to be valuable to everyone you meet, and you'll never truly be poor.
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