The Magic Box 魔法盒




Once upon a time, in a faraway land there lived a farmer with his two sons. He worked hard and looked after his farm, his cattle, and orchard regularly. It was little wonder that he had fields finest in the village. His cattle and sheep were the best in the village. The choicest fruits and vegetables grew in his garden and orchard.

During the monthly fair, where all village folks met to sell their wares, his was the best of the lot. His neighbors envied and said, "There goes Ferguson, his sons are fortunate to have him as a father. They are going to inherit all these".

Ferguson had two sons. The elder one was William and the younger Harry. However, his sons were not interested in farming. William was more interested in arms and fighting, while Harry liked music and the fiddle.

One day, he asked his sons, "What is it that you want to do in life?"

William was quick to reply, "I want to join the army. I want to serve the country and make you proud".

Harry seemed not so sure about what he wanted to do. "Well, I like music, and I may become a musician, but think I will have to practice harder".

"Okay," the farmer said. "William, you go and join the army, and fulfill your wish".

Then he turned to Harry. "You too can work towards your dream but meantime, help me with my work as well".

So William left and Harry stayed back with his father, occasionally helping him in his daily chores but mostly dreaming about his musical future.

Life went on but one day Ferguson fell ill and there was nothing that anybody could do to help him. On his deathbed, he called Harry and told him, "Take good care of everything son, remember you are looking after your brother's share too, give it back to him intact, when he returns from his duty".

Those were his last words, and Ferguson died leaving everything he had in Harry's care.

At first, Harry kept his father's words close to his heart and started on his life as a farmer. Nevertheless, as time went on, he began falling back to his old, carefree ways. He thought "there are laborers to look after them who have been doing this for long so they will continue to do so".

However, hoping for things to take care of themselves was too much to ask. Once left by themselves, laborers stopped giving their best, which meant crops weren't looked after, cattle was unattended, fruits ripened and fell down from the tree, but never reached markets on time. Thieves stole his cattle while pests and small birds made merry on the unmanned farms. The guards themselves turned to steal as they found the opportunity too tempting.

Harry was oblivious to everything, lost in his world and music. The money his father left was getting him through the days and there was no shortage of friends and well-wishers while that lasted. But all things if not growing, have to come to an end. One night, it finally dawned upon Harry, when his father came to him in a dream.

"Remember my last words, son, remember to give your brother his share, or more if possible." was all he said. Harry was relieved his father did not scold him for being careless.

Harry wasn't sure that his brother would come back or not. The thought of showing him the real situation made him panic, and he was running around in the village. His neighbors and others were having a good laugh at him, "We warned you so many times." Nobody came forward to help him and they were all happy at his misery.

There was one shepherd boy in the crowd, who was considered a simpleton by everybody. But only he gave something which seemed like a solution to Harry. The boy said, "Master, why don't you go to the old lady on the mountains, who can do magic. Who knows she may bring your lost fortunes back through magic".

Harry took serious notice of the boy and climbed up the mountain. The old woman lived in a cave-like house, too old to even move around, she listened to his whole story, then went inside, came back with a small box in her hand, with a tiny hole on top. The box was locked and welded with brass strips. She handed the box to Harry and said, "Every day, before sunrise, shake one grain of magic dust on all corners of your land, and watch the magic happening".

Harry's relief was beyond words. He took the magic box, thanked the old woman, and quickly left for home. The next day he woke up, earlier than he had ever done, and went with the box to the fields, he noticed the crops were half uncut, he also noticed the cut ones had not been taken inside or properly dried.

Harry woke up sleepy laborers and sent them off to fields, with instructions to do their job properly. He repeated the same routine in the cattle sheds and orchards. Laborers were shocked and whispered to each other, "The Master is so much different!"

This routine was repeated every day. Harry went on shaking his magic dust in fields, and his laborers had to keep up with him. Every day, he found items that were left unattended and made sure it was taken care of. He was waiting for the magic to happen, but unknowingly he was making it. Within time, his farm, orchards, and cattle began to prosper and seemed well on the way to the state when his father was alive.

Harry's brother never returned. He may have been killed in the war, but the good times came back for Harry. He got married to a good girl and had two sons. Time passed and while on his deathbed, he asked his sons to open the magic box, and inside there was nothing except some sand and a note which said, "The magic is in the master's eye, and what your property needs are your attention"
























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