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The Worthless Man

There was a village deep in the jungle in which some families were richer than others. No one was starving, but some families had more than one house, while others had only a hut to protect them from the rain and wind. No matter how little a family had, the members knew that they were better off than the one they called "The Worthless Man". This man had no wife or children. He had no house or garden, or even a stick to work a garden with. His only clothing was something he wore around his waist that was made from rat skins. He did have a bird trap, which he used to catch birds for food. Even though he had so little, he was happy unless he was in the village. Then some men and women would laugh at him. Children would call him names and throw dirt clods at him. The days came when the whole village was making fun of him whenever he was near. He grew tired of it. The next day he caught some birds and brought them as a present to a wise woman who lived by herself in the jungle. He told her how poor he was and how the whole village mocked him each day. Then he asked for her help. "Two tests I shall give you," she said. "If your heart is strong enough to pass both of them, then you will become the chief of your village, and they will honor you each day." "What are these tests?" he asked. "I shall only tell you of the first test for now. Go back to your village and work harder than before. Build ten houses in which to live. In the houses, make a chest to hold money. ...
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