The Treasure
by Robert Alan Silverstein


Once there were two friends who found a great treasure. They were very happy, for they each had dreams that this good fortune could help make come true.

The first friend ran home as fast as he could, and started to build himself a giant castle. He filled it with fancy comforts and beautiful furnishings, so that all who saw it would admire him for his good fortune.

The second friend walked slowly along, humming happily to himself. He too was about to embark on a lavish spending spree. First he bought new equipment for the children's playground. Next, he set up a botanical garden in the park so that everyone could enjoy the beauty of flowers and trees, right there in town. Then he built a community center where everyone could gather together.

There was still plenty of money left in his bag...but he wasn't finished yet. He thought of his friends, and he knew that they each had dreams that they had put aside in their struggles to make a living. Secretly, he arranged for all of them to have the means to pursue their dreams.

The sun was sinking low when his tasks were finally done. Yet there was still a small but considerable portion of money left in his bag. He made one last stop to purchase a few of the comforts for his family that he had not been able to afford before. Then, finally, he continued home to tell his family of his good fortune.

Now, word travels fast in a small town. In spite of his careful planning to keep his generosity a secret, his friends soon realized what he had done. They came to him and asked with teary eyes how they could ever repay his kindness, and why he hadn't built himself a huge castle as his friend had done.

Smiling, he answered, "We have a comfortable home already. The joy in your hearts is repayment enough, for we have all that we need, and we treasure you as our friends."

Everyone promised that they would pass on the kindness that they had received. That very evening, the entire town joined in a great, joyful celebration.

Time passed by in that small town, and everyone was able to do for a living the thing that brought them the most joy. Needless to say, it was quite a happy time.

As the months passed, the first friend's palace grew bigger, and more and more extravagant, until one day, while he was away gathering still more fancy things, the entire huge, tall structure crumbled down -- there was just TOO MUCH in it! Everything was ruined. When he returned he found he no longer even had a place to live.

He stood, hopelessly crying, on top of the pile of rubble that was left. Suddenly he heard voices singing. He looked down and saw that everyone in the town had brought him food and gifts. They continued to sing as they helped build him a place to live out of the ruins of his past extravagance. They worked hard together. Before the sun had set, they had helped build a small, but comfortable home.

"How can I ever repay you for your kindness?" the grateful friend asked with teary eyes.

"The joy in your heart is repayment enough," they smiled. "For we have all that we need and treasure you as our friend."

The sun set peacefully.

© 1995-2014 Robert Alan Silverstein