The (not-so) Troubles of a Beggar

There was a beggar. He would beg and scrounge and search for things. He would get his pile stacked up, and a little mouse would come and steal from his pile. The beggar would then acquire things to replace what the mouse stole, and the mouse would steal again. This went on for some time, then the beggar finally asked the mouse, “Mouse, why are you stealing from me, a beggar, who has nothing, when so many more have so much more?” The mouse replied, “It is your destiny. You are destined to only have 8 things. If you get more, I take it.” The beggar retorted, “Why is that my destiny?” The mouse answered, “I don’t know. You’ll have to ask the Buddha.”
The Buddha lived far, far away from the beggar, but he had to know. So he set out to find the Buddha. On his way he got caught in a storm. He came across a magnificent home of a wealthy family. He knocked and begged for shelter. The homeowner was skeptical at first, but upon hearing the man’s story, he let him in. He introduced the traveler to his family, gave him dinner, and a warm bed. In return, the homeowner asked one thing. You see, the homeowner had a beautiful daughter, but she had never spoken. The owner asked the beggar to ask the Buddha why his daughter didn’t speak, for he thought his daughter could never be loved if she couldn’t speak. The man agreed, and was on his way.
After departing the home, he met a wizard. He told the wizard his plan and the wizard said, ‘Well I am magic. And I will fly you across the mountains so that you can see the Buddha. But I am over 100 years old. I should be in Heaven by now.. I have read the teachings, and I am supposed to be there. Please ask the Buddha why I am not in Heaven.” The man agreed, and the wizard, staff in hand, flew the man over the mountains and forest.
The man continued his journey and came to the ocean. Only the ocean lie between Buddha and the man. How would he get there? A 500 year old turtle surfaced. The man told the turtle he was going to the Buddha. The turtle said to the man, “I am supposed to be a dragon, but I am not. The teachings say that after this amount of time, I should be a dragon, but here I am, a lowly turtle. I will take you to the Buddha if you will ask him why I am not yet a dragon.” The man agreed, and the turtle fulfilled his promise.
The man finally arrived at Buddha. He was not alone. There were many more people there to see the Buddha. The Buddha addressed them all, and said he would answer every one, but each person could only ask three questions. When it was the beggar’s turn, he didn’t know what to do. He thought about it and realized that he his situation wasn’t so bad. He could find shelter, and he always found food. However, the wizard couldn’t get to Heaven, the turtle was not yet a dragon, and the homeowner’s daughter couldn’t speak. Realizing his problems weren’t nearly as important as the others, he asked the Buddha, “Why hasn’t the turtle turned into a dragon?” The Buddha replied, “He simply must let go of his shell, and a dragon he will become.” The man asked, “Well why hasn’t the wizard gone to Heaven?” Buddha replied, “He must let go of his staff. He relies too much on his staff and if he lets it go he will see that he doesn’t need all that magic–then he will ascend to Heaven.” The man had one more question, “Why doesn’t the homeowner’s daughter speak.” “She will speak when true love finds her.”
The man set on his journey back home, still unknowing of why he could only have 8 things at a time. He told the turtle what the Buddha said. The turtle released his shell and a magnificent dragon he became. He thanked the man and said, “I won’t be needing my shell anymore. It is full of pearls. You take it.” The man nodded and took the shell with him until he met the wizard. He told the wizard about releasing the staff. The wizard gave the man his staff, and ascended to Heaven. The man now had a magical staff to go with this precious pearls. The man went onward to the home that gave him shelter. He knocked, and the beautiful daughter opened the door and said her first words ever, “You came back. I am so glad to see you.” Because the beggar put others before him, and realized his problems weren’t so bad after all, he gained wealth in pearls, power with a magical staff, and the love of a beautiful maiden.
I wanted to share that with you, because it lifted my spirits, if only for a little while. I’ll keep trying my best to help others, and in the meantime, I don’t have it so bad. Thank you for reading.