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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

The Jar of Oil and Honey

Once upon a time, in a bustling neighborhood, there lived a humble and pious man, known far and wide for his unwavering devotion. His small, modest house stood next to that of a merchant, who was as renowned for his business acumen as the pious man was for his piety.

The merchant's trade was in honey and oil, and he had thrived in this sweet and unctuous business. His prosperity was equaled only by his benevolence. He found in the pious man not just a neighbor but a kindred spirit, someone whose guileless heart was sown with the seeds of love for God. In recognition of this virtuous connection, the merchant happily supplied his pious neighbor's needs.

Such is the power of riches when used for good—to win the hearts of the less fortunate, to transform perishable wealth into a perennial source of sustenance. The merchant saw in the pious man not just a friend, but a worthy recipient of his generosity.

The merchant, never one to miss an opportunity for benevolence, sent a portion of his daily stock to support the pious man. The pious man, in turn, used what he needed and carefully stored the surplus in a corner of his home. Over time, this humble jar became the repository of their neighborly bond.

One day, the pious man gazed upon the brimming jar, contemplating the treasure that lay within. "What wealth of honey and oil lies in this vessel?" he mused.

His imagination ran wild, and he calculated, "If I can sell these treasures for ten dirhams, I can purchase five ewes, and with time, their offspring will flourish. Twenty-five, then fifty, then hundreds will grace my pastures. With the abundance they provide, I shall sell some, invest in fine furniture, and even find a noble bride."

The pious man's vision stretched even further, as he envisioned the birth of a son. He imagined this child growing into a scholar of great wisdom and charm. Yet, as youth replaced infancy and independence crept in, the devout father foresaw potential rebellion.

He knew that discipline would be necessary, and for that purpose, he raised his staff. Deep in thought, he brandished the staff, picturing the future son's disobedient visage. He struck the air, rehearsing the corrections that may someday be needed.

But the universe has a sense of humor, or perhaps it's destiny's own jest. As the pious man's staff descended, lost in the thoughts of a fictional son, it met with an unforeseen accident. The jar of honey and oil, placed conveniently beneath the pious man's seat, came face to face with the staff.

With a heart-rending crack, the staff collided with the jar, shattering it in an instant. A deluge of honey and oil rained upon the pious man, bathing him from head to toe, drenching his vest, and even coating his hair.

The pious man, lost in his dreams, had brought his imagined son to life—except this offspring was not a scholar but a sea of honey and oil, a testament to the unpredictability of life's sweet, sticky surprises.


Source: Anvar-i-Suhaili

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