The Straw Giving Farmer – Becoming Rich

A millionaire created through giving!

There is a Japanese folk tale about the power of giving and it exemplifies how we can get the most wonderful of gifts when we’re gifting things to others and are positive about what we have already got.

Here is the story.

Once upon a time, there lived a young farmer of very modest means. Whatever he tried to do did not find fruition and he always remained penniless. He was completely broke without any money, without any food and with no relatives. So one night, totally despondent, he went to a temple and sat near the altar begging the Gods to show him a way.

“I have always been honest and hardworking, but all my hard work never produced any reward for me. What am I doing wrong?”

He slept at the feet of the deity after having put that question. In the morning, just as he woke up, one of the Gods of his dream appeared before him enveloped in a brilliant golden light. The voice of the God resounded in his mind.

“When you wake up today, treasure the very thing you have in your hand and keep giving it generously to others on your way,” the God whispered.

The farmer woke up. He still had many questions jumping through his mind but he lifted himself up and tried to shake off the strangely vivid dream he just had. To his surprise, he saw a piece of straw in his hand. Maybe it was on his clothes after the long day of fieldwork.

He was about to throw the straw away, but remembered what God had told him. Once again he sat down. Then he looked curiously at the bit of straw.

He sat for a while unable to comprehend what all that meant. He did not know how a piece of straw can turn out to be useful. Then he saw a wasp hovering around. After a while the wasp settled on one end of his straw. He caught it and with the help of a thread from his clothes, tied it to the straw. And with a wasp at the end of his straw, he went on his way.

He had proceeded only a bit when he saw a woman and her child coming from the opposite direction. The child was crying. When he wished them, the boy saw the straw in the farmer’s hand with a wasp dangling at the end. The child was curious and asked the farmer if he could have it. He was about to refuse when he remembered how God had told him to cherish what he had and also at the same time to give to others what he had. So he offered the straw to the child. The mother became happy since the child stopped crying because of the gift. In return for the straw the lady gave the man three tangerines.

The man continued on his way. After a while he started feeling hungry and wanted to eat one of the tangerines. But he stopped short of doing it and remembered that he had to gift things to others, not give it to himself.

The farmer was going over a steep hill and on the way he saw a merchant sitting under a tree. The man had a wooden box near him. The farmer wished the man. He appeared to be very tired. He saw the tangerines the farmer held and asked him if he would give it to him. The merchant told the farmer that he was very thirsty.

The farmer was also equally thirsty as the day was hot and he had walked pretty long, still he gave all the three tangerines to the trader. The man ate all the three tangerines and felt fully energized. He felt very thankful to the farmer who was so kind. To show his gratitude, he opened the box that he had kept near him. The box contained several bolts of hand dyed silk. The trader took out one roll, gifted it to the farmer and left.

The farmer proceeded again through the same route. He finally found a rivulet from which he drank water and felt restored. He felt more energetic and comfortable and went on.

The farmer walked and walked not seeing anyone for a long time. He started to think that maybe this was it – his fortune. So, he decided to go to the nearby town to sell the fabric.

But just as he went around the corner, he saw in front of him a band of fighters. One of the fighters who looked liked the head of the band stood near a horse that was lying on the earth. The farmer heard the leader talking to his men.

“It does not appear that this horse would live much. We will have to leave it here. Nurse it well and catch up with me.” With this the leader jumped on to another horse and rode off, moving out of people’s sight.

The other warriors were left talking to each other about what to do. They did not want to kill the horse but there seemed to be no other choice. One of them finally drew his sword.

The farmer pleaded with them not to do that. He said he was ready to look after the animal. He said they can have the bolt of silk for letting him care for the horse. They agreed to the deal and left the place quickly.

The farmer stood there with the horse that was in its death throes. He felt he might have got it all wrong and that he was not destined to be wealthy. Then he thought of the river that he had come across on the way.

He immediately went back to the stream, took off his shirt and soaked it in the fresh water so he could give water to horse. He returned to the horse still lying there on the ground. The farmer squeezed the wet cloth over the horse’s mouth. Very soon the horse began to respond and regained its consciousness, so the farmer pulled it up with all his might.

Once the horse was up the farmer was able to lead it to the river. The animal drank to its satisfaction and there was also green grass nearby that it could feed on. With both that the horse became fully recharged.

So now the farmer owned the horse! The man and the animal traveled together, and the farmer had to run as the horse led the way. They traveled together for miles. Finally, as the sun was setting, the horse came to a halt in front of a big house. The animal pushed the farmer towards the gate when he finally drew level with it.

As the farmer approached the gate, the doors swung open and to his surprise, an old man appeared. The old man was rushing outside and was looking a little pale. He noticed the farmer and the horse standing by the gate.

The old man asked the farmer what it was that he needed. The farmer said that he wanted a place where he could sleep at night. The old man queried the farmer if he would mind looking after the house till his return as he had to leave for the nearby town on a pressing matter. He also said that it might take some time for him to return.

Since the old man appeared to be in a hurry, the farmer said that he can use the horse. The old man felt glad about the gesture and accepted the offer. He left with the horse but before he left told the farmer something strange.

“If I do not return within three years, this house is yours.”

As you perhaps inferred, the old man did not return.

So the farmer lived happily ever after in the old man’s big house with kind-hearted neighbours around and a land rich in good crops. He always kept in mind the rule that he should give to others what he had.

I am grateful to you for reading this story. And how did you feel about it?

Perhaps there is a secret to things. When we can turn the business of getting into the business of giving, our life gushes forward with greater plentitude. Still it might not be easy to incorporate into practical life this age old wisdom.

The following are the interesting principles we can see in the tale:

* When we are willing to provide what others want, their value for it enhances more than when we are trying to ‘barter’ it (as mostly we hope to get something out of it) since they compare the price with what we expect for it and would obviously pay less.

* When there is no lasting attachment to the things we own, we will see that we have wider chances since we are able to free ourselves from what we have.

* When what life offers is not a bed of roses, instead of concentrating on the difficulty if we kept our attention on giving and sharing, life is sure to bring in good things later.

* If we try to turn into cash what we have accumulated, because of the conviction that “this is all it would get” thinking that if we do not encash it, we will lose, our life will stand still. Instead, why don’t we keep on giving more and more irrespective of what we have or whether we are actually rich or not.

Gifting is an inherent part of the lives of most winners. When we are ready to give first, we have better chances of living a life of perfection, ease and growth.

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