The Tale of the Gourd-Hoard
Once upon a time there lived a man who had two gourds. They were exquisite gourds, though they were not treated or polished. In fact they were some of the most beautiful gourds ever to be seen on this earth. The man treasured his gourds.
One day his sister said to him, "Brother, may I have one of your gourds? You have two and I have none, and I would really like one of your gourds."
He thought about this, because it was his sister. She was family and he loved her dearly.
Finally he said, "No, I cannot give you a gourd, because this is a gourd set."
"Please," said his sister.
"O sister, I would," he said, "except I do not wish to break up this set. They go together, you see."
And with that, he apologized again and headed out of the house, clutching his gourds tightly unto his bosom.
On his way, he met a turtle. The turtle saw that he was carrying two gourds.
"Good day to you, sir," said the turtle.
"Hello, my turtle friend," replied the man. "Can I help you get where you are going this fine day?"
The turtle declined. "My destination is not far," he said. "But there is one way you could help me."
"Give it a name."
"My shell is getting old and slightly cracked from use, and I should greatly benefit from a new home." The turtle showed the man where his shell was chipped and scratched. "If you could spare me one of your gourds, I could use it as my new home."
The man thought about this, because he loved nature and the turtle was in need. But could he break up his gourd set? Did he need both? Yet surely they were worth more together than seperately, for they were some of the most beautiful gourds in the world.
Finally he said, "I am sorry, friend turtle, but this is a gourd set, and I cannot spare one for you, for it would break up the set."
The turtle stared at him. "I have never met someone who so stubbornly hoards his gourds. You are a Gourd-Hoard."
The man apologized to the turtle, but he clutched his gourds tightly to his bosom and headed on his way.
When he came to the city, he met a musician. The musician was sitting with his instruments and his money cup, but he was not playing.
The Gourd-Hoard dearly loved music, and wished the musician would play something. So he asked the musician to play him something.
"Alas," returned the musician sadly, "I cannot play for you."
"Why not?" asked the man, his hope crushed.
"My drum is broken," he said. Then he saw the gourds the man held. "But if you could spare me one of your gourds, I could use that as a drum and play music for you right now."
This threw the Gourd-Hoard into inner tumult. He did so dearly love music, and he wanted to support the art of music. Plus he could have his own personal concert right now! Why was he holding onto his gourds so tightly anyway? He could get more gourds. But then he remembered how he had not given a gourd even to his sister. And if he could not spare one for his sister, it would be wrong to give one to this musician.
"I am sorry," said the man, and truly he was. "I cannot give you one of these gourds, for they are a gourd set. But I do love music, and wish you well." And he threw some money in the musician's cup, because he did want to help the musician somehow.
And, apologizing again to the musician, he headed back out of the city.
His mind as he walked was full of thoughts. He had thought his gourds to be very valuable and wondrous, but they seemed to be causing more harm than good. He had been happier before he had the gourds.
Finally he was decided. "I shall give my gourds away and increase the happiness in the world!" he said. And so saying, he raced back to the city to find the musician.
But the musician was gone! He was nowhere to be found. The man searched everywhere, and asked around the city about him, but no one had seen him.
This saddened the Gourd-Hoard, but he was still determined, and so he ran back along the path where he had come upon the turtle.
When he reached the place where he had met the turtle, he searched very vigorously, even calling out and asking the other animals if they had seen him. But the turtle was nowhere to be found.
The man felt bad that he had not given his gourds away the first time. Now neither the musician nor the turtle could benefit from his gourds. But at least there was still his sister, who had been the beginning of his gourd hoarding. He ran home.
When he reached the house, he was relieved to find his sister taking a pie out of the oven.
"Sister," he said, "I am sorry. I was too selfish when you asked for one of my gourds." And he proffered one of his gourds. "I gladly share my gourds with you," he said.
His sister replied, "O brother, I thank you for your generosity, but now I no longer want one of your gourds. For in place of the gourd I found this turtle and took it as my pet. And I also met this musician, and we fell in love and I have accepted his proposal of marriage."
And so the Gourd-Hoard's sister and the musician were married. And they lived happily ever after, and the Gourd-Hoard still has his gourds to this day, although if you ask him, you may have one.
© 1998-2021 Zach Bardon
Last modified 7.19.2019