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P. V. Ramaswami Raju

The Miser and the Money Tree

In the East, two men, whom we may call Rap and Tap, went to a miser's door, one evening, and began a conversation as follows:

Rap. Brother, is this the house where the Sibyl said that the Money Tree grows?

Tap. Certainly, this is the house.

Rap. Perhaps by the Money Tree the Sibyl simply meant the wealth of the miser?

Tap. Oh, no; she distinctly said it is a tree with pence for leaves, shillings for flowers, and pounds for fruit, growing larger every hour, and is just ten feet below the great chest of the miser.

Rap. There is a genius guarding the tree, is there not?

Tap Yes; and the only means of getting rid of him is to set the miser's chest at the gate, and shut the door, that the genius may turn to the chest, and let us have the tree. Else, the genius will certainly devour us, as the Sibyl said.

Rap. But what shall we do with the miser?

Tap. Why, squeeze his neck and bury him in the pit, after digging up the Money Tree.

Rap. But, as the tree may be rooted up, anyhow, this night, we shall go home and return better prepared.

So the two men pretended to leave the place and stood watching from a distance. The miser, who had heard the conversation, thought that if he should strive to get the Money Tree before them, he would be much more wealthy. He brought his chest out to beguile the genius, and went in to dig for the Money Tree.

Rap and Tap walked away with the chest, thinking they had better do so than wait for the Money Tree.

The miser, who had dug deep and not found the Money Tree, came out towards daydawn, and seeing his chest gone, wailed aloud. A great crowd gathered. Rap and Tap, who were among them, said, "If money would grow, it must be so; if money would go, it must do so."