5. General Stories

Hidden Treasure

Long long ago, there lived a very poor couple. They had only a small hut to live in and a a little plot of land where they did farming and made a living by the crops they grew.

But one day, the husband fell sick and the woman went to work alone.

She went into the fields and began to remove the weeds. Suddenly, she saw a gold coin lying among the weeds. Overjoyed at this discovery, she picked it up with her trembling hands and tied it into a knot in one corner of the long cloth she wore.

Imagine her surprise and joy when a little later, she found a sparkling red ruby lying some distance away. After this, she found an emerald, a topaz and a diamond as long as she worked. She went back home, buying some rice with the gold coin. She did not tell her husband about her discoveries.

“What if he becomes jealous?” the woman thought.

So she kept silent and went back to work as usual, without her husband suspecting anything.

This time, she found a silver coin. As she held it in her hands and saw it glimmer in the sunlight, she heard a voice saying to her, “Tell no one of your good fortune, not even your husband, and you shall have more treasure.”

So she went again and again to the field and everyday, she found something or the other – two silver coins on some days, three gold coins on another day, a diamond on another and so on. She hid all her treasures in a safe place that was out of even her husband’s reach.

But when she went to the field on the seventh day, she found nothing. She worked all day long and searched every bit of the land, but there was nothing valuable that she could find.

At afternoon, she felt hungry out of exhaustion and sat down near the edge of the field to boil her rice. She lit some firewoods and was blowing into the fire when she heard the same voice say to her again,

“After you have finished boiling your rice, put out the fire and dig the ground where the woods are burning. Tell no one, not even your husband, of what you find.”

She did as the voice told her and she dug out a great jar filled to the brim with gold pieces. Trembling at her discovery and good fortune, the woman hurriedly took out one or two gold pieces out and buried the rest as before. She ran home as fast as she could. Her husband was surprised to see her come back at this odd hour and asked her if all was well with her.

The woman could not contain her excitement any longer. She told her husband everything about the treasures she got. The man was overjoyed to hear about it all. Unable to restrain himself, the man went into the village and told every one of the treasure trove.

Within a few moments, the excited villagers rushed to their land to dig up the treasure. But the treasure was no longer there. There was neither any sign of any gold coin nor any trace of the jar.

“Where are the treasures? You must have lost your heads in this high summer heat” everyone laughed in disbelief at the couple.

“No no. I have seen them and I have even got some precious stones with me.” cried the woman.

But as she tried to show them her gems to prove that she was right, she could find none where she had kept them. All that she had hid in her secret place were gone too, and the couple were as poor as they had been before.

How foolish they were to disobey the command of the voice!

This is the origin of the orange-tree.

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