The magician and banana




Long ago there lived a man called Nai Ha Thong. He loved gold more than anything else in the world. Nai Ha Thong had a wife and family, but he spent all his time trying to discover the secret of making gold. Before long, he had used up all his money and all his wife's money, and the children began to look pate from lack of food.
Nai Ha Thong's wife went to see her father. He told her to send Nai Ha Thong to visit him. When his son-in-law came to the house, the old man did not scold him. Instead, he spoke gently. He said, "I didn't know you were interested in magic. It interests me too. In fact, I have discovered the secret of making gold."
This excited Nai Ha Thong. He asked his father-in law to tell him the secret.
"Alas," said the old man, "I have almost everything I needto make gold, but there is one thing missing, and I am an old man. Of course, if someone would help."
"I'll help," said Nai Ha Thong. "Just tell me what to do."
"Well, in that case, I'll let you in on the secret. What we need are three kilos of the white fluff from under banana leaves. These leaves must be from your own banana trees.
When you have the fluff, bring it to me and we will make our gold."
Nai Ha Thong was so pleased to hear this that he hurried home and told his wife. The next day they started planting ba­nana trees. Soon the trees grew tall. When they were fully grown, Nai Ha Thong carefully scraped the white fluff from un­der each leaf. He did not notice that his wife and children were picking the bananas and taking them to market.
At the end of three years Nai Ha Thong had collected only half a kilo of fluff. It was very hard work, but he kept his mind on the gold he and his father-in-law would make some day. He and his wife planted more banana trees so he could collect much fluff each year. At last, after ten years, Nai Ha Thong had collected thethree kilos of white fluff. He put itin a large jar and took it to his father-is-law's house.
"I see you have followed my instructions very carefully and worked very hard," said the father-in-law. Now there is onlyone more thing to do. Open that door over there."
When Nai Ha Thong opened the door he found a room full of gold. His wife and children were standing in the centre.
"This is the gold we have made by selling our bananas for the last ten years," said his wife, smiling.
"You have become a rich man," Nai Ha Thong's father-in-law told him. “Now go home and: help your wife look after the banana trees. You have turned bananas into gold.”


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