“Ancient Tales of Wisdom” remind us of the traditions and moral values that have been treasured all over the world. We hope the stories and messages in this series help uplift the hearts and minds of our readers.
“A Priceless Treasure” tells a tale of how the quality of unselfishness brings rewards far greater than what one has sacrificed for others.
This retold tale is part of a specially dedicated children’s collection of audio stories and original illustrations compiled and produced in 2012 as part of the “Ancient Tales of Wisdom” program by the Sound of Hope Radio Network.
Listen to the audio story, or read it below, and be transported into another world!
Listen to Audio Story:
Long, long ago, there was a great famine in all of Germany. One year, in a small town, a rich person invited 20 poor children to his home, and said to them, “Each one of you may pick a loaf of bread from my basket. And from now on, every day at the same time, you may come here and take a loaf of bread until the famine is over.”
The bread basket held many loaves of bread of different sizes. The children quickly grabbed the basket and fought over the biggest loaves of bread. After they each got a loaf in their hands, they scurried off without even saying a “thank you” to the rich person, except for one little girl. She was a poor girl dressed in clean clothes, named Francis, who stood shyly to the side.
Francis waited for everyone to finish picking out their loaf of bread before she took the last—and smallest—one. She thanked the owner and went home.
On the second day, all the children did the same thing they did the day before. They showed their eagerness to get the bread like hungry wolves trying to snatch more food. Again, poor Francis got the smallest loaf, which was not even half the size of the others. Like the day before, she then took the bread home for her mother to cut. Only this time, a lot of shiny new silver coins fell out of the bread.
Her mother was very surprised and confused, and said to Francis, “Please return this money at once to the person who gives the bread, because these coins must have somehow fallen into the bread mix by mistake.”
So Francis took the money back immediately. But the person said, “It is not a mistake that you found that money in the smallest loaf of bread, I did it on purpose. I put the money into the smallest loaf because I wanted to reward you, my child. Always know little one, that a person who will take the smallest piece of bread rather than fight for the bigger piece will gain blessings in other ways: far better than the silver coins that were in the bread.”
And so, Francis learns that the quality of unselfishness is a priceless treasure. It is also a distinctive characteristic of a person’s kind and virtuous heart, or mind-nature. An unselfish person is sure to have other honorable traits and be admired for his or her gracious behavior, gain respect and trust from others, and as a reward for these moral qualities, such a kind person will surely live a happy and fulfilling life.
This tale, “A Priceless Treasure,” is reprinted with permission from the “Ancient Tales of Wisdom—Student Workbook” published by the Sound of Hope Radio Network. Audio and illustrations by Sound of Hope Radio Network. Copyright © 2012. All rights reserved.