Once a poor man came to a rich man and begged him to give him an acre of land that was not being used. He said that he would cultivate the land and then sell the grain at a cheap price to the poor people. Although the rich man was not using the land, he did not trust the poor man. He told him, “No, you have to pay me for the land.”
A few months later the poor man’s son came to the rich man and said, “Sir, I had a dream, a most powerful dream. In the dream a beautiful goddess appeared before me and showed me a particular plot of land. She said that if I dug deep enough at that particular place, I would find an earthen pot with one hundred gold coins.” The son didn’t disclose that the man who had asked for the land was his father. He only said that he had had a dream, and the rich man was very pleased to hear about it.
The rich man asked, “Then what shall we do?”
The son said, “I don’t have any money, so I won’t be able to buy the land. But if you want me to, I will be able to dig up the pot and give you the money. Then, if you are kind to me, you will give me the land.”
“You can certainly have the land if you get a hundred gold coins!” exclaimed the rich man. “If you find the earthen pot and give the coins to me, I shall give you the land.”
“Yes, I shall do that,” said the young man. “Or you can give me a few gold coins instead of the land,” he added. “You have got thousands of golden coins. You can give me a few.”
The rich man said, “No, only take the land.”
“All right,” agreed the young man. “Now I have to dig up the earthen pot. But it is not safe to dig during the day. People will see me. So I will start at night. You can stay with me — but nobody else.”
The rich man agreed because he didn’t want to share the gold coins even with his wife and children. He said, “I don’t want to share this with anybody.”
That night the rich man watched the young man dig for some time. After a while he got tired and asked the young man, “Are you sure that you will find this earthen pot?”
“Absolutely sure,” replied the man. “There is definitely something here!”
Finally the rich man went back home. “When you find it, call me,” he said. “But be sure you don’t call anybody else — not my children or wife or anybody.”
“Certainly! I will call only you,” agreed the young man.
As soon as the rich man left, the young man went home and brought back a small earthen pot. In it he put a hundred ordinary copper coins, and then he sealed the vessel. On the top he put a note that said, “Do not open this until three years have passed. After three years if you open it, then you will have gold coins. But if you open it before that, you may not get gold coins.”
He put the pot in the hole that he had been digging and then pretended that he had just found it. He started screaming, “I have found it! I have found it!”
The rich man and his whole family came running. “What has happened? What has happened?” they cried.
The young man told them that he had discovered the earthen pot with the gold coins. The rich man became very forceful and said, “Nobody except me can touch this pot.” When he read the message on the top, he was not disappointed at all. “Three years? That will pass by very quickly,” he said. Then he asked the young man, “What would you like as your reward?”
“Just this acre of land,” answered the young man.
“All right,” said the rich man, “but you won’t get anything from this earthen pot.”
The rich man brought the pot home and put it near his bed so nobody would be able to touch it. O God, his eldest son was so clever and greedy. He said, “If there are golden coins in this pot, then why do we have to wait for three years?” Then he shook the pot and heard the coins rattling inside. “Definitely there is something inside. Why do I have to wait for three years?” he said. He was so anxious and eager to open it. He stole the pot from his father’s room and opened it. As soon as he opened it, he saw the simple copper coins.
He ran to his father, crying, “That fellow is a liar. Let us kill him!”
“How can I kill him?” asked the father. “The note said that the pot should not be opened for three years.”
The son was so angry that he went and got the young man and dragged him to see his father. The young man said, “Sir, it was written that one had to wait for three years. Why did you open it now?”
Then the father got mad at his son and started thrashing him.
The young man said, “What am I going to do? You didn’t want to give me any gold. Instead you gave me the land because you were so pleased with me. Now you are going to take away the land.”
“No,” said the rich man. “This is my fate. I promised you that I would give you the land. It is yours.”
So the young man started cultivating the land. He raised vegetables and grains. In six months’ time he asked the rich man, “How much do you want me to pay for the land?”
“Why do you have to pay?” asked the rich man.
“Suppose you wanted to sell it to someone else,” said the poor man. “How much would you sell it for?”
“I would ask for only two hundred rupees,” said the rich man.
“Then take these two hundred rupees that I have made from selling vegetables and grains,” said the young man.
This is how the young man was able to get money to buy the rich man’s land.