Piece of Gold by Jim Cyr (Reprinted with permission)

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Once there was a holy man who sat with his begging bowl in hand at the entrance to a village. A peasant traveling down the road into the village stopped to stare at the beggar.

“Aren’t you tired of being poor?” the peasant asked the holy man.

“Just once I’d like to have enough money to feed my wife and children and have a little left over,” lamented the peasant.

The holy man looked at the peasant and smiled. “I might have something that will help you.” He reached into a tattered old bag hanging from his belt.

From the small bag the holy man pulled a large gold piece.

“Here, take this. I don’t need it,” the vagabond saint said, as he handed it to the peasant.

The poor man took the gold piece and hid it in his tattered shirt. He hurried home holding his treasure close to his breast. When he arrived he took the gold piece out of his shirt, placed it on the table, and stared at it. That night the peasant slept with the gold piece under his pillow dreaming of what he would buy with it the next day.

In the morning the man took the gold piece, wrapped it up, put it back in his shirt, and carried it back to the holy man. “Here, I want to give this back to you. I don’t need this,” said the peasant.

The holy man said, “OK.” He took the gold piece and put it back in his bag. “Is there anything you need?” asked the saint.

“Yes,” said the poor man. “I need to know what you know that you can give that away.”


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