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February 16, 2019

An old man's lesson on hard work

An old man’s lesson on hard work
An old man’s lesson on hard work

Continued from last week

“One day, the son, who was bequeathed a large track of land by the father, decided to start on the difficult search for the money that the father had insisted was buried within the farm.

“He reckoned that if he had to succeed in unearthing the jar full of money buried in his land, then he had to dig up the land piece by piece from one corner to the other. He knew it was not going to be easy, but if it was the money his father had earned over the years, and the money from the sale of the rest of the land that belonged to his mother, that was a lot of money. It was more money than he could earn in many years if he decided to go to town to look for a job. After all, he had a house to live in, and some cows to milk and some goats to sell if he needed quick money to survive while he searched for the big deal. He had to do it alone. If he called in friends or if he hired help, the money could fall in the wrong hands and he would lose a fortune. If he mentioned the secret to anyone, the land would be invaded by fortune seekers, the lazy men like himself who were left behind by their agemates when time came to leave the nest.

“He woke up one early morning. He armed himself with a heavy hoe and a panga, well sharpened for the task ahead. He had a warm feeling when he noticed that the equipment he was to use for the search of the treasure was the same that his father had used to till the land for the time he had lived on the land. If he had used the same hoe to bury the money, then the same hoe would find the money. And so he began to dig the land given to him by his father. He started with the part of the land with the coffee trees. Concentration on the weed growing between the trees, he plucked each one of them carefully and dug around the tree, covering them with the fresh earth. It took him almost a month on this section alone. By the time he was through, he had developed a huge chest and muscular hands. His body was rid of the excesses of drinking and lazy life, to be replaced by a handsome, well-toned body of an athlete. But the money was not found.

“He entered the second phase of his search, digging up the part of the land that had  grass. He knew it was the most difficult part of the bargain. If he did not find the treasure here, then he had either to quit the search, or start all over again. He meticulously dug the whole area in less time than he had the coffee area, yet this one was bigger. He discovered, to his amazement, he was much bigger and fitter as time went by.

“This part of the land was sharply steeped. If he left the loose soil unattended, he would lose the soil to the erosion when the rains came and this might expose the treasure to people, or worse, be swept away by the rains. So, after each day of digging, he planted sweet potatoes to hold the soil together. By the time he was through with that part, the sweet potato plants had spread all over and were doing very well. The coffee trees he had weeded before were doing very well too.  He quickly made the final layout of the sweet potato plants and decided to have a rest before he could restart his search.

“Meanwhile, the coffee berries were ripening fast. He did not have time to rest, otherwise the coffee would go to waste. He started harvesting the coffee. Sweet potatoes also needed attention. Having forgotten about the money in the jar, he sought the help of a lady who was his neighbour since she knew how to harvest the sweet potatoes.

“Together, they harvested and sold the farm output. One time when he returned from the market with the sales of the potatoes, he found his father at home. He had a ward of notes on the table. After the usual greetings, the father said to him, ‘this money is from the coffee you have harvested. The registration was still under my name so they send the money to me. I have to give it to you, for this is the money you have dug up from your farm. There was no money hidden there. Now you know how to find what you need.’ And with that, he was proud to leave his reformed son.”

My grandfather concluded his story about success.





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