The Straw Giving Farmer – Becoming Rich


A millionaire made easy 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 was a poor young farmer. Everything he did in his life never seemed to produce any wealth for him. He was totally broke with no money, no family and no food. So one night he sneaked into a temple and sat by the altar and in desperation asked the Gods what he was supposed to do.

“I have always been truthful and assiduous, but all my industry never resulted in anything good for me. What did I do 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 in the morning, cherish what you have in your hand and go on giving it to others liberally as you proceed,” the God commanded.

The farmer was brimming with questions when he woke up but he tried to shake off his sleep and clear his mind of the strange but clear dream he had. However, he saw a bit of a straw in his hand. It must have remained on his clothes while he worked in his fields.

He almost threw it away, but stopped short of doing it recollecting what God had said about it. He seated himself again and stared at the straw in his hand.

He sat still for a long time thinking what this meant. He had no clue why a piece of straw can be of any value to him. Then he saw a wasp flying around. It eventually landed on the tip of the straw. He caught the wasp and tied it to the straw with a piece of thread from his clothes. Now with a piece of straw with a flying wasp at the end, off he went on the path.

He had only walked for a few minutes before he saw a little boy and his mother coming from the other direction. The boy was crying. As he said hello, the boy noticed the wasp moving on the straw that the farmer was holding. He stopped crying and asked for the straw. The farmer nearly declined but then he remembered about the God’s message that he needed to treasure what he had but also remembered that he was to give it away to others. So, he offered the straw to the boy. The mother was very appreciative as now the boy stopped crying and began smiling. The mother offered the farmer 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.

As he went over a steep hill, he saw a merchant sitting down on the ground by a tree. Next to him was a wooden box. The farmer said hello to the merchant. He seemed to be exhausted. The merchant saw the tangerines in the farmer’s hand and asked if he minded giving him the tangerines. He said he was so thirsty.

The farmer was also quite thirsty having walked for a long time during the heat of the day but he offered all the tangerines to the merchant. The merchant ate the three tangerines and regained his strength. He was very grateful for the kindness of the farmer and opened the wooden box next to him. There were rolls of hand dyed silk fabric. The merchant handed him one roll, thanked him and walked off.

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.

He walked for some more time but did not come across anyone else. He felt that the silk might be that which would bring him something good. So he chose to go to a town in the vicinity and trade the fabric.

And just when he turned the corner, he saw a group of warriors. One of the warriors who seemed to be the leader was standing by a horse lying on the ground. The farmer heard the voice of the warrior talking to his followers.

“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 ran to them and requested them to refrain from killing it. He opted to care for the animal. In return for that he gave them the bolt of silk he had. They were happy of the offer and went away fast.

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.

The horse finally stood up on its legs so the farmer could take the horse to the stream. As the horse took more water and ate some fresh green grass around the stream, it soon began to regain strength.

The farmer now had a companion. They journeyed together, the horse in front, and the farmer panting behind to keep up with it. They traveled for miles in that manner. At last, as the sun was about to set, the animal came to a stop just in front of a rather big house. When the farmer drew alongside, the horse pushed him in the direction of the gate with its snout.

As the farmer made his way to the gate, all of a sudden the gate opened and an old man was standing there. The man looked drawn and he was hastening out onto the road. The old man took notice of the farmer as well as the animal standing nearby.

The man queried the farmer what he wanted. The farmer replied that he was in need of a place to retire for the night. The old man in his turn said that he had to go to the town on an important matter and requested the farmer to be in charge of the house till such time that he returned. He said that his returning might get delayed.

As the old man seemed to be in a hurry, the farmer offered him the horse. The old man appreciated the generous offer and took off with the horse. As he was leaving, he said something peculiar to the farmer.

“If I do not come back in three years’ time, this house belongs to you.”

As you probably guessed, the old man never returned.

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.

Here are some of the interesting distinctions we can find in this story :

* 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 we are down and out with the problems of life, instead of worrying about the negativities if we kept focus more on giving others and caring for them, life would surely bring glad tidings later.

* When we try to encash what we have created, believing that “this is the maximum it will bring”, as we think we might be the loser if it is not turned into cash, our life will stagnate. Instead of that, we should continue to give liberally whatever we have got and however wealthy we are or we are not.

Giving is part of many successful people’s lives. When we give first, we have more chance of living a life of magnificence, ease and expansion.

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