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STORIES TO TELL TO CHILDREN (41)

2006-08-28 20:55

    THE GOLD IN THE ORCHARD

    An Italian folk tale. There was once a farmer who had a fine olive orchard. He was very industrious, and the farm always prospered under his care. But he knew that his three sons despised the farm work, and were eager to make wealth fast, through adventure.

    When the farmer was old, and felt that his time had come to die, he called the three sons to him and said, "My sons, there is a pot of gold hidden in the olive orchard. Dig for it, if you wish it."

    The sons tried to get him to tell them in what part of the orchard the gold was hidden; but he would tell them nothing more.

    After the farmer was dead, the sons went to work to find the pot of gold; since they did not know where the hiding-place was, they agreed to begin in a line, at one end of the orchard, and to dig until one of them should find the money.

    They dug until they had turned up the soil from one end of the orchard to the other, round the tree-roots and between them. But no pot of gold was to be found. It seemed as if some one must have stolen it, or as if the farmer had been wandering in his wits. The three sons were bitterly disappointed to have all their work for nothing.

    The next olive season, the olive trees in the orchard bore more fruit than they had ever given; the fine cultivating they had had from the digging brought so much fruit, and of so fine a quality, that when it was sold it gave the sons a whole pot of gold!

    And when they saw how much money had come from the orchard, they suddenly understood what the wise father had meant when he said, "There is gold hidden in the orchard; dig for it."

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