This is a story my grandfather told me long time ago.
As the time passed by I started to get a new appreciation of its meaning and wisdom.
So I would like to share it with you today.
Not so long ago a rich merchant god a very bad news.
He’s health was deteriorating rapidly and his days were numbered.
So he gathered his relatives, his wife and his only son at his bed side to read his last will and testament.
- Since my only son is a no good, lazy, arrogant bum – he started - I leave him nothing.
Then continued by sharing his wealth to the rest of his relatives - and even left something to be given to charity.
After everybody was gone, his faithful and loving wife came to his bed to plead in behalf of her son, asking the dying father to rethink and change his decision.
The father agreed to give his son a chance. He said:
-If my son can go out there and earn a silver dollar on his own merit, I will change my will and leave him an inheritance.
The next day the son wake up early in the morning and was ready to go out to earn the money his father as asked, when the mother showed up at the door with some food she had prepared for the boy.
- Here, - she said – some food for your lunch.
And as she handed the bag to the boy she slipped a silver dollar in his hand.
So the boy went out, find a nice place under a tree and slept till noon, then he ate his meal and came back home.
He walked up to his father and announced.
- Here father, the dollar I earned today.
The father took the silver coin, looked at it, looked at the boy and then tossed the coin in the flames of the fire place.
- This is not an honest earned dollar – he said – You have disappointed me as I thought you would.
The boy left the room and went back to his mother to tell her the bad news.
-You dim wit – she said – At least you could have rumple your clothes and put some dirt on your face, to make it look like you have worked all day!
So, she went back to her husband and once again pleaded for her son.
After all the begging the old man gave up and agreed to give him another chance.
The next day morning the boy left and again his mother gave him food and another silver dollar.
The boy did the same thing as the last day but this time before coming home he made sure to make himself look dirty and tired like he was coming from a hard day of work.
- Here father – said the boy – I have brought you an earned silver dollar.
The father took the dollar, looked at it carefully and then threw it into the fire.
- This is not a dollar earned, son. Get out of my face!
The boy went to his mother and gave her the bad news.
Once again the mother went to ask for another chance.
- I love you dear, more than anybody on this world but you have to admit our son is a no good bum and he doesn’t deserve to inherit my fortune. I will give him one more chance only if you promise this is the last time you will come to me on his behalf.
The woman agreed and the next morning her son was ready to try again.
This time when his mother tried to give him a silver dollar the boy refused to take it.
-I don’t know how he does it – said the boy – but father knows when I am dishonest, so today I will go and earn an honest dollar.
So he went to a nearby farm and asked for some work.
And the farmer was glad to give it to him because he had a lot of hard work to do.
The boy spent the whole day working on the farm, feeding the animals and cleaning the stables.
At the end of the day the farmer gave him, as promised, a silver dollar and the boy went back to his father.
-Here is a dollar I have earned – said the boy, handling the coin to his father.
The old man took the dollar and looked at it very careful then tossed it in the fire place.
- This is not an honest earned dollar – he said.
And as he was saying that the boy jumped and with his bare hand pulled the coin out of the fire.
-This is a dollar I work for all day. How dare you throw it away like that?
Said the boy.
Then the father smiled and said.
- Indeed you have earned that dollar with honest work, for now you know its value.