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The Treasure in the Pillow

There is a fable from India about a rich man who is traveling far from home.  A poor man notices his fine clothes and his bulging money-bag, and decides to travel with him, and look out for a way to steal his treasure.

Every night, in the humble inns along the roadside, the poor man unrolls his bedroll early, and pretends to sleep.  Then, as the rich man leaves the room to get washed up, the thief rummages through his belongings, in search of the treasure sack.

He never can find it.  As soon as he hears the rich man’s footsteps, he leaps back into his bedroll, always certain he's just moments away from finding the treasure.

Every morning, the poor man once again pretends to sleep, until the rich man goes down for breakfast; yet morning is the same as evening: the thief can never find the money-bag.

Day after day this goes on, until the two men finally reach their destination.  As they are parting ways, the thief’s curiosity gets the better of him.  He admits to the rich man what he’s been up to.  “How have you eluded me for so long?” he asks.  “Did you guess that I was out to rob you?”

“Yes,” said the rich man, “I guessed that the very first night.”

“Then where did you hide the treasure?”

“It was very simple,” replied the rich man.  “Every night, while you went to get cleaned up before bed, I slipped into the room and put my treasure in your pillow; and every morning after you had rifled through my belongings, I got it back.”

Sometimes, in all our anxiety over finances, we, too, miss the treasure that is close at hand. 

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