The Farmer and the Beggar

February 27, 2011
Dawn traced its hand through slivers of azure sky and trumpeted the arrival of another glorious summer day in the rustic countryside. The horizon of the deepest blue was complemented by the receding penumbra of a hazy moon and the approaching outline of a fiery red-orange sun, effectively painting a thousand different shades and timbres directly onto the morning sky. Waves of wheat and heat drifted back and forth to the rhythm of a soft, warm breeze floating solemnly in the air. Larks droned and cicadas chirped noisily in the background, completing nature's living breath. And that morning, the wealthy farmer who owned this land saw it all yet understood nothing.
Blinded by his arrogance, the farmer had long since been consumed by avarice; it was a raging inferno within his bosom that could only be extinguished through the dowsing water of humility.
That humility come in the form of a dark hunched mass that stumble upon the edge of his field one fateful day. Approaching the homeless man, the farmer proceeded to humiliate and spit on the pitiful creature. Yet, the first words issued from the homeless man struck the farmer with alarming force.
"Mock me as you will, ignorant man, but I will be happier than you will ever be. The world is but a canvas on which ," said he.
"Impossible," the conceited farmer cried, "my crops have made me richer than you worthless vagrant can ever dream of becoming!"
"Poor as I may be, I am still richer than you," retorted the beggar.
"Nonsense! Without wealth, you are but a pile of dirt, subjected to the whims of a cruel, unforgiving world, destined to die an old man, filled to the brim with regret that you did not lead a more affluent, productive life."
" I have my golden memories, my silver aspirations, and, most importantly, my sterling appreciation of the gift that is the present. The world is but a canvas on which I pour out my desires, my emotions, my soul."
"All this world needs is another crazed, harebrained lunatic who thinks he's got all of the universe's philosophical quandaries all figured out. In reality, you will never do anything in life. I, unlike you, have a purpose. I produce, you receive, and that is why your kind is the scum of the earth."
"But tell me this-can you travel the world? Can you walk a thousand miles in the gentle breeze along the soft sands of the blue ocean? Can you explore a new metropolis, bustling with the subways and the busy street corners and the skyscrapers of sprawling urban landscapes, every single day? Or are you simple confined within your self-made prison of money that you consume with such vigor yet do not take the least pleasure from acquiring?"
"You are mistaken, sir. I enjoy the texture of the dollar, and I take great pleasure in storing it in a vault in my attic after each yield of crop. So I might not have the frivolous luxury of wasting my years as a nomadic vagabond, but I do have simple pleasure in my life."
" If you love money so much, why did you not choose a more profitable vocation, such as a merchant or an oil tycoon? In fact, do you even enjoy farming?"
It was at this point that the farmer had a flashback to when he was a little boy. Each summer, he would travel to the summer country fair, where he reveled in a exhilarating adventure for exactly two weeks. The exuberant night lights of scintillating red and yellow and neon green dazzled his eyes; the scrumptious smells of caramel apple and buttered popcorn convinced his nine-year-old self that the provincial countryside was the best place in the entire world. However, it was the natural atmosphere that delighted him the most: the cow cheerfully mooing and horses baying and people bustling and the flowers blossoming. Whenever another soft lotus blossomed, he felt one step closer to home.

Now, facing the ugly reality, he felt increasing disenchanted at his miserly lifestyle and gradually realized the purpose of the beggar's cogent inquisitions.

"Can you describe nature's inconceivable beauty?" inquired the beggar.
"I —", stammered the farmer. But he was so dumbfounded he never finished the sentence.

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