Life Is More Precious Than Wealth

Varun scratched his head in bewilderment, for it seemed no matter how hard he worked, there was never sufficient money to save some for his old age. Admittedly wood carvings did not fetch high prices, especially as every customer haggled until he was forced to let his precious carvings go cheaply.

His wife kept telling him not to worry, for they had a good home, sufficient food and ample clothing. Have faith, she would say, and one-day things would improve.

Late one afternoon, a stranger came into Varun’s workshop, and after discussing various carvings, Varun was surprised to discover that the stranger was a well-known palmist.

Varun thought it a good idea to invest a few rupees in finding out precisely what the future had in store. After much deliberation, the palmist said he could see a bright future in Varun’s palm; his business would improve, and before he died, he would be worth more than a lakh of rupees.

Varun scoffed at such a prediction and said it was all nonsense, but his wife was sure the palmist could read into the future. She was undoubtedly correct because, before long, the business had improved. There seemed to be a sudden demand for wood carvings, and they could save a little each month.

Some years later, Varun met a sculptor who had come from far away, hoping to sell the king some of his fine work.

“But I am afraid my luck is out,” said the sculptor with a sad look. “I went to speak. I went to the palace, but the guards turned me away, probably because I looked like a beggar.

“Let me show you my prize statue,” continued the sculptor, and he took Varun to the house where he was staying, and in his room was the most beautiful statue that Varun had ever seen.

“It is wonderful,” said Varun excitedly. “Let me take it to the palace, and I am sure the king will want to buy it.”

“If you are successful, I will willingly give you half whatever the king pays,” the sculptor said.

The following day Varun went to the palace with the small statue wrapped in a silk cloth and had no difficulty obtaining an audience with the king.

“Your Majesty,” said Varun, “I have brought a statue by a great sculptor, which I am sure you will like.”

When the statue was un- covered, the king was amazed. At such a fine work of art, he ordered his treasurer to go immediately and pay the sculptor one lakh rupees immediately.

The money was brought to Varun’s house; the sculptor was delighted at his good fortune and, remembering his promise, told Varun he must accept half the amount.

Varun’s wife threw up her hands in horror. “You must not take fifty thousand rupees. Half that amount will be more than sufficient.”

Varun and the sculptor looked at the good woman in amazement. “You forget what that palmist told you some years ago, she cried, “he said that you would be worth a lakh of rupees before you died. So I will ensure you never have so much money because your life is more precious than a mere lakh of rupees.”

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