Have you ever dreamed of getting a big, fat sum of money by chance? What if you could only have it at the cost of your peaceful life? Could you make a decision like the leading character of this true story?
Here, our leading character is an elderly ironsmith. He opened a forge shop on an old street, and the shop is also his home. He runs his business in a very traditional way: he never shouts to those who go by or bargains with his customers. And he never closes the shutters at night.
Everyone who passes by his shop sees him waiting on his bamboo chair, a small radio in his hand, and a Yixing purple clay teapot at his side. His income is just enough for his food and tea. He is getting so old that he does not need any extra things, so he is very content with his simple life.
One day, a teapot dealer passed by the forge shop by chance. Suddenly his face brightened up as he caught sight of the Yixing purple clay teapot sitting beside the ironsmith. It was ink-black, and looked very quaint and graceful. This style made the merchant think of Dai Zhengong, one of the most famous purple clay teapot makers in Chinese history.
The merchant could not help coming up to the ironsmith. He took up the teapot, and looked at it carefully. At the base of the spout, he found a small inscription with the name ‘Dai Zhengong.’ The merchant was pleased beyond expectation, for he knew clearly that each of the artist’s works was more valuable than its weight in gold.
And reputedly, only three of Dai’s purple clay teapots were still around: one was in New York, the second in Taiwan, and the third in the hands of a private collector.
The curio dealer made an offer of 100,000 yuan (some USD $14,000++) for the purple clay teapot. The old smith almost jumped out of his skin, but at last he politely refused the incredible offer. Because his grandfather first used the pot, three generations of his family had enjoyed tea out of it. He could not end this tradition.
The pot was not sold, but the old blacksmith could not fall asleep after the dealer left. He had been using the teapot for nearly sixty years, seeing it as an ordinary one all the time. He couldn’t imagine a man actually wanted to buy it for such an extraordinary price! He tried hard to understand why, but he couldn’t get the answer.
In the past, he used to drink tea lying there, paying no attention to his teapot. At present, however, he sat up and stared at the pot for several minutes. This upset him quite a lot. When it got around that the ironsmith owned a precious purple clay teapot, people kept visiting his shop. Some wondered if he had another valuable thing, and some even asked him to lend money to them. Furthermore, some people would knock on his door late at night asking these questions. His life was thrown into confusion. He had no idea what to do about his pot.
Several days passed, and the curio dealer appeared once again. This time, he doubled his offer in cash for the pot. The old smith could stand it no longer. He called up his neighbors, and in front of them he smashed the pot.
These days, the aged ironsmith is over one hundred years old. He is still running his small business.
The message from this story: The aged ironsmith deserted his priceless purple clay teapot, but regained his peaceful, carefree life again. Like him, sometimes we too need to give up something to get what we really want. Keep in mind: Minimum desire leads to happiness.