The Treasure in the fire-place


There was once a peasant who led Aard and miserable life. Though he worked in his' field from morning till night, he was very poor. Although he tried to make his life better, he suffered for many years.
One morning, after he had recited his morning prayers, the peasant said, "Lord, all these years I have honoured Thee and I have never done anything wicked. Yet, though I work from sun­rise till sunset I am still very poor. Lord, please give me some wealth to lighten my hardship. Put some treasure under my chimney. Then I will know that it has come from you alone."
After murmuring this prayer the peasant went to work in his field. A few clays went by but nothing unusual happened. Every morning the peasant looked in the fire-place under the chimney but he saw only ashes. He did not give up hope and repeated his prayer each day.
One afternoon while he was ploughing his field, the peasant tore his sleeve on a bush. He did not want this to happen again so the peasant dug up the bush. As he pulled it out he saw something buried in the soft earth under the roots" quickly the peasant made the hole bigger and dug deeper, until he saw what was hidden in the soil. It was a big, earthenware pot. The peasant took the pot out of the hole and opened the lid. The pot was full of silver coins!
"O Lord!" exclaimed the peasant, "You have answered my prayer!"
Just as he was about to pick up the pot and take it home, a thought came into his head.
"No, it is not true that the Lord has heard my prayers," he said to himself.
"I asked him to put some treasure in the fire-place under my chimney. Only if I find the treasure there, then only can I be sure that it is from the Lord. Therefore this silver is not mine."
So the peasant closed the pot and put the treasure back in the hole.
When he went home he told his wife what had happened. When she knew that the peasant had left all that wealth in his field, his wife grew very angry.
"You stupid fellow! What does it matter where you find the treasure? It is silver coins and can help us escape from this poverty. Go back to the field and bring the pot here!"
But whatever she said, the peasant refused to get the sil­ver.He firmly believed that the only treasure he could keep would be that found under his chimney.
When his wife knew that she could notchange his mind she was furious. She went to her neighbour and told him about the pot full of silver coins.
"Please, dear neighbour," she said, "go to our field and take that pot and let us share the treasure."
The neighbour was overjoyed when he heard her story. Al­though it was now dark, he went at once to get the treasure. Holding a lighted oil lamp in his hand he went to the field. Itwas easy for him to find the freshly dug hole. The man took the pot out and opened the lid. But what a shock he got! Instead of silver coins he saw poisonous snakes slithering and wriggling in the pot. Quickly he put the lid back on again.
"What a mean and nasty woman my neighbour's wife is!" he muttered to himself. "What a horrible trick she has played on me. If I had put my hand in the pot, I would be dead now. Perhaps she wanted that to happen. Perhaps she is angry with me for one reason or another. But I'll teach her a lesson! "
The angry man picked up the pot and carried it home. He waited until midnight when his neighbours were fast asleep. Then he climbed onto the roof of their house and threw the pot down the chimney into the fire-place beneath it: Then he re­turned home satisfied with what he had done.
The next morning, after saying his prayers, the peasant looked as usual in his fire-place. There, among the black ashes was the earthenware pot he had dug up in his field the after­noon before. It was broken into manypieces and among the pot fragments he saw countless silver coins!
"Praised be the Lord!" the peasant exclaimed in delight. He knelt down and raising his hands in joy, he said, "Lord, now I can take this treasure, for you have put it in my fire-place as I begged You to. Now I know that this wealth is really meant for me. How can I thank You?"
In this way, God rewarded someone who trusted in Him.

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