More Precious than Gold

Long ago when there was only compass for navigation and one’s own hunch from experience, a wealthy young man from a wealthy country had a dream to journey around the world; he didn’t want to explore, rather become famous. His ship, his crew, his wealth, his power…everything either contributed to his fame or was derived from it. He was feared by all but feared none.

He had gold worth a thousand lands which could buy anything he wanted since he was his father’s lad, never did he face harsh reality nor was ever treated harshly, he had everything one could want and nothing that wasn’t expensive. He threw away what he didn’t like and kept only what he favored.

There was an old chef on the young man’s ship, who was known for his kindness and skills in making tasty dishes. His motto was ‘To serve all who are hungry, whether a friend or a foe’.

When he first arrived on the ship, he had made his best dish, but being arrogant as the young man was, his dish was thrown on the floor as it wasn’t what the man liked. The chef was hurt watching his dish thrown away and the food being wasted, but said nothing and prepared again what the master liked. Since it had been a fun experience for the young man, he did the same thing everyday just to see the chef work hard for him.

One day, his crew announced an impending storm was about to hit their ship. Being young his spirits were high so he commanded his crew to sail through and welcome the excitement of the obstacle they had to cross. But soon enough, the storm took a disastrous turn and the ship drowned.

When the young master woke up, he found himself resting on a sandy beach, on further inspection he found that there was an old man sitting on a rock cliff that was facing the see. Standing up on his feet, he dizzily climbed on the cliff and found the old man, “Oh, so it was you chef. What happened, where am I?”

The chef replied solemnly, “On a lonely island, just because the ship sunk.”

“Now what will we do?” asked the man while panicking and looking around with hazy eyes, “My father will surely send a search team.”

“If he ever finds out about this mishap…”

“I am sure someone will find us!”

The chef threw a small bag on the young man and told him, “I found this on the shore, this is your share of food, utilize it properly.”

Looking at it with anger he pointed out at the bigger bag kept just besides the chef, “What about your share? How come mine is smaller than yours? I am your master, that bag belongs to me.”

“You and me are nobody at the moment, you taunted me for so long and even sunk our ship just because you wanted the excitement of a storm. You are nothing, do you hear me lad? People died because of you!”

“But…I still want that bigger bag! I order you to give me that bag right now, who are you to scold me so?”

“Founders keepers.”

The young man thought about fighting and taking back what was his from the start but then, the chef spoke up, “I still have a handy little kitchen knife in my pocket, don’t even think about attacking me. Now leave this place and take the other side of the island, once the ship is in view, inform me, I will do the same.”

Defeated, the young master backed away and resided on the other side of the island, eating his share of food carefully each day, so that it would last long.

Now it had been days since his food had finished and he was starving to death. So he got up with some courage he had and walked towards the chef’s side. On reaching there he saw that the chef still had that bag full of food kept by his side. ‘So he plans to eat everything in one go, when he is about to starve? I will just snatch it away then, now’s my chance!’

The young master ran towards the bag with full force and tore it apart with a happy grin, ‘If he was to die, then he will die taking what was his.’ But what he found in the bag wasn’t what he was looking for. It was a bag full of Gold!

“Wha-What is this?! Where is the food?” he asked while holding back his tears. “Where is the food old man? Did you ate all of it?” he asked again while shaking the thin frame of the chef.

The chef finally looked at the mater with hooded eyes, “This is yours master, your wealth that you so prefer.”

The man then understood everything, the chef actually never had any food with him, he gave away all to him. He remembered how he had thrown away all the food the chef made for him just because he thought it was fun…now he was starving and had not even a single crumble of it to eat. The bag full of gold could not even buy him a single piece of bread.

“I understand now chef, I was foolish, utterly foolish! I am so sorry chef, how can I ever repay your kindness or for the food I wasted just for fun?”

Just when he thought he and the chef would both die, he heard a ship in the distance, thus eventually they both were saved, but this teaches us a lesson never to forget, “Food is more precious than gold, we should never waste it when we are lucky enough to have it.”

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