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The Daydreamer

Adapted from a traditional folk tale from India.

Once upon a time long ago there was a man who made his living selling oil. He filled up large pots and went from village to village, selling the precious liquid to all who were interested. In fact, business was going so well, he decided he needed an assistant.

The old man found a spirited young man whose good humor made him perfect for the job. The young man's task was to carry a big pot of oil through the village balanced on his head and he told the old man that he had the hardest head of anyone he knew. The old man agreed and offered him ten rupees a day.

Well, this young man turned out to be quite a daydreamer. As he walked from house to house, he thought "Hmm, with ten rupees I can buy a few chickens. Of course the chickens will have eggs and I'll have more and more chickens! Soon I'll make so much money selling eggs and fowl that I'll be able to buy goats. When the goats multiply I'll sell them and buy cows and buffalo.

Soon I'll have so many animals that I'll be a rich man. I'll be rich enough to buy land and then I can grow crops. Of course I'll have to build a house on my land and with such a big house, I'll want to marry and have lots of children.

With a large farm and a big family I'll be a very busy man. When they call me in for dinner, I'll shake my head and 'No, I am too busy!'" He shook his head violently to emphasize his point and when he did, the pot full of oil fell from his head and broke into pieces on the ground.

The old man was angry and said, "You fool! Look what you have done. You owe me a hundred rupees to make up for the oil you have spilled."

The young man shook his head and said sadly, "Sir, you may have lost a hundred rupees but I have lost a great deal more."

"What do you mean?" said the old man.

The young man hung his head and said, "I have lost my dream of a big piece of land, overflowing with animals and crops, with a beautiful wife and a big house full of happy children."

The old man shook his head and laughed. "What a fool you are! And a greater fool am I for hiring a dreamer like you!" Both men laughed and went on their way.

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Last updated on Friday, November 22, 2013.

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