Moral Stories in English - Free Treasure But?

  Free Treasure. But?

This happened long ago. In a village on the river lived an able-bodied young man named Harry. There was a regular ferry service, carrying people to both sides of the river. Harry waited on the river bank. He worked as a porter, carrying the luggage of the passengers up to the market where they found carriages for the town. Harry owned a small house of his own. His family consisted of his wife and a son. The ground around his house was fertile. Harry's wife grew vegetables on it. What Harry earned was enough to run the household. Even he succeeded in saving some money. One day, as he sat on the river bank waiting for the ferry to reach the shore, a roving lunatic came closer to him and began babbling, "In the forest, near the deserted temple, there are ghosts. They know about buried wealth. So many times they have offered me wealth. But..." "But?" asked Harry, curious to hear the rest. "Shut up!" shouted the lunatic, "am I under your command that I must tell you everything? Why don't you go and see for yourself?" The lunatic began calling Harry names. Harry did not mind his outbursts. But he grew curious about the buried wealth and the ghosts. Sometimes a mad man can speak out what a normal man would not. Who knows if the lunatic was not revealing a secret? Harry walked into the forest when it was dark.

It was a moonlit night. He found his way to the deserted temple. He saw a ghost swinging merrily, holding on to the branch of a banyan tree. Harry pretended not to have seen the ghost. He sat down under the tree and gave out a howl. The ghost jumped down and stood before him and asked, "Hello, brother, why are you crying? Please tell me all. I cannot bear to see anybody sad." Harry narrated a number of imaginary tales of sorrow and said in conclusion, "I have no desire to live any longer, for I am left with no money." "So, all you want is money, right? Wait!" said the ghost and he ran away and in a minute returned with a pot which was made of gold and which was filled with gold coins too. "Take this. I'm sure, this will solve all your problems," said the ghost handing over the pot to Harry. "I don't know how to thank you, brother ghost!" said Harry in a choking voice, hardly able to contain his joy. "Why should you thank me? I am giving this to you for my own satisfaction. Did I not tell you that I cannot bear to see anybody sad?" said the ghost with a broad grin. Harry took leave of the ghost and began walking towards his home. He had taken only a few steps when two other ghosts came rushing to him. They looked into the pot he carried and one of them exclaimed, "How lucky is this chap! He got a potful of gold!" The other ghost gave a shake to the pot. At once the gold pot turned into an earthen pot and the coins inside it turned into worthless scraps.

Harry was shocked. He looked back. But, his well-wisher ghost was not there. He returned home, disappointed. He did not work the next day. With great anxiety, he waited for the night to fall. As soon as it was quite dark and all was quiet, he proceeded to the forest once again. He found his well-wisher ghost without much difficulty and told him how he had suffered at the hands of the two other ghosts. "I see. Wait!" said the ghost with sympathy. He then ran away and returned with yet another gold pot, filled with gold coins. Harry avoided the way he had taken the previous night and tried to come out of the forest through another route. But the other two ghosts found him out all right. The lucky fellow has got another treasure!" one of them yelled as both came running towards him. "Treasure? Well, I don't see any unless by treasure you mean an owl!" said the other ghost. Harry was aghast to see that the pot he held turned into an owl. He screamed in horror and let go of the owl. It screeched and flew away.

Harry returned to the banyan tree but did not see the donor ghost. He walked home sad and tired. He spent the next day feeling extremely restless. At night he reached the banyan tree and located the well-wisher ghost. He reported to the ghost his plight at the hands of the other ghosts and said, "It is no good you giving me wealth. You must escort me till I cross the forest so that the other two ghosts cannot play mischief with me." "The fact is, just that I cannot bear to see anybody unhappy, they cannot bear to see anybody happy!" said the well-wisher ghost. "That I understand. My question is, will you escort me till I cross the forest?" asked Harry impatiently. "How can I? If I do that, the other two ghosts will be terribly unhappy! I can't bear to see anybody unhappy!" said the ghost and he laughed loudly. Harry heard the other two ghosts laughing at a distance. He cursed himself and ran away. Back at home, he could not stop shedding tears over his foolishness. He now understood why the lunatic said "but" so emphatically! and he never felt greedy on free wealth but became rich by working hard.

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