Two acquaintances were banished to a barren and desolate land. Together, they faced exile as a punishment for theft. They were far away from their village, and the only thing they managed to bring with them was a donkey. Each man had ulterior motives for his life of crime. The fool wished for money to spend on gambling, while the wise man wished to open up a trade business.
After three days of exile and no food, the two men were fortunate to find a river with drinking water. The agony of thirst was not a concern to them, compared to the pain of their constant hunger.
With an impulsive resolve, the fool made a proposal out of sheer desperation. In anguish, he said: “Let us kill and eat this donkey!”
“No!” replied the wise man. “If we do that, we will have nothing to help us keep warm at night.”
The two acquaintances had been using the donkey for warmth during the cold nights. They had now gone for four days without any food. They rode the donkey for a couple of hours, and to their great delight they discovered a berry tree. They hurriedly ate from it. The wise man gave some berries to the donkey, in order to help it sustain its energy.
The fool laughed at the wise man’s benevolence, but the wise man replied to him by saying: “If the donkey becomes weak and feeble it won’t be able to carry us, and the thorns and stones will cut our bare feet.”
That night, the two men heard the sounds of cracking twigs. The noise became louder and louder. Two gleaming, ominous eyes could be seen in the shadows. A black jaguar soon emerged, majestic in appearance, but with a fierce demeanour. The jaguar circled the three in a hunting stance, as the inevitable approached. A fight ensued between the donkey and the jaguar, but the jaguar had the upper hand. It dug its claws deep into the donkey’s back. The donkey jumped around frantically to try and shake the jaguar off, but to no avail.
The two acquaintances looked on in horror. The wise man, thinking fast, grabbed hold of a piece of burning wood and waved it in front of the jaguar. The big cat, distracted and frightened, let go of the donkey. Just then, the donkey gave the jaguar a kick to the head, knocking it unconscious. The two acquaintances hurriedly killed the jaguar. Afterwards, they sat down, panting from exhaustion.
In the early hours of the morning, the two men visited a neighbouring village. They decided to sell the jaguar’s skin. The two acquaintances were fortunate, as they received a huge amount of money from the sale.
“I can drink and gamble again!” said the fool jubilantly. “This worthless donkey proved its worth!”
The fool was happy to go back to his previous lifestyle. The wise man, on the other hand, finally had enough money for his trade business. Parting ways, the two acquaintances said their farewells. The wise man took the donkey with him.
So it came to pass that the wise man established a very successful fur trading business. The fool was not so fortunate, for he soon found himself begging on the streets. One day, he saw the wise man walking past with the donkey. He rushed forward to beg for anything he could get.
“Oh gracious friend, have mercy upon my wretched existence. I am in need!” said the fool as he clutched onto the wise man’s foot.
“Certainly,” replied the wise man. “After all, you are my brother.”
The wise man helped the fool onto his feet, and lifted him to ride the donkey.
<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>***</strong></p>
<strong>Tell us what you think: If you had enough money to survive for 6 months what would you do with it?</strong>